Today, I read an article and the title was “Autistic restaurant worker Goes Unpaid for Months”. It resonated with me as I know very well from our autistic team members who work at Artistas that many of them were unpaid workers before securing their jobs at the Café. As I read the story, some things rang so true about what I know about workers with autism.

The young man with autism who worked at the restaurant got rave reviews from the other workers. One co-worker said that “He is a tireless worker” and another said they were lucky to have him as he just continues to work and work and won’t stop until his shift. As I read on, his father commented that he was enjoying the job so much, that they weren’t really focused on the income so much.

This brought back memories of an Autism Conference that I recently attended. The Keynote speaker was an Anthropology Professor who studied how the various countries view and treat their autistic population. At the end of his presentation, he projects a picture of him and his daughter and goes on to say that his daughter is his reason for studying autism and by saying that he has come to terms that his daughter will always live at home with him and his wife. He added that although she has been working as a volunteer at their local zoo for 7 years that she is very happy. My spirits sank. “Is this the best we can expect for our Autistic children?”

My daughter Gabbi is now 19 and I can relate to these emotions as this is her last year in high school. Questions like, “what’s next?” and “will she live independently?” have crossed my mind.

“Now Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Hebrews 11:1

Faith says that there is a path for my daughter and all things will work for her best and highest good. All the other dark emotions come from a place of fear!

Each day we have a choice of what thoughts we want to choose. I think it’s time to “Break Free” from the limited thoughts we may have about our autistic children and start creating the future we want for them and us by just choosing to think about what’s possible.

General statements like these have helped me to shift my perspective:
Gabbi is wonderfully and perfectly created and I want to teach her so much, but I’m also open to learning from her.
Gabbi has talents and “Uniqabilities” and these are clues for what she may be able to do in the future
Today, I will look for things in my child and in our relationship that make me feel happy and positive about who she is.
I know that if I can stay open to the possibilities of what Gabbi can achieve, it will help her to see the possibilities too.
More and more companies are seeing the value of hiring people with autism which will open up more possibilities for people like Gabbi.
One day, people diagnosed with autism will be in high demand because they think differently and are really cool!

Create your own positive affirmations and when fear starts to creep in, grab your list and envision your child happy with a world of possibilities opening up for them.

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