10 Moms Share What They Want You to Know About Autism

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1A Need to Be Heard

"People with autism want to be appreciated and included, just like everyone else. Children on the spectrum need love and friendship, even if they have trouble with touch, eye contact, or using words to express their wishes for closeness. Young adults with autism yearn for meaningful work, significant relationships, and as much independence as possible. Like all minority groups, individuals with autism want to overcome prejudice against them and show the world what they can do. People on the spectrum may have different wiring and unusual sensitivities, but if you make the effort to get to know them and accommodate their needs, I think you'll see a mix of talent, motivation, and gratitude beyond what you might have expected."

-- Marguerite Elisofon, author of My Picture Perfect Family: What Happens When One Twin Has Autism

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3The Greatest Joy

"Having a child with autism has given us our biggest challenges in this life, but also access to the greatest joys we have ever known." -- Lindsey Articolo, mom

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4A Gift to Treasure

"They are a special gift from God too no matter how little or profound their disability -- they are here in this world for a purpose." -- Anonymous mom

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5Patience Is Key

"Kids with autism are aware of the looks and comments, although it might take them longer to process it. People should not treat them like they have a contagious disease, but understand that the way they process information is different, and ... be patient."

-- Carol Cooper, mom and creator of Ready, Set, Go Play Therapy Bears (therapy toys for kids with autism and other issues)

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6More Than a Diagnosis

"Individuals with autism are more than their diagnosis. They are people trying to make sense of our world and function accordingly. Rather than try to make them fit in our keyhole, we should be willing to modify our way of thinking to focus on their strengths and competencies -- rather than emphasizing their deficits." -- Anonymous mom

More from The Stir: Autism From A to Z: Everything a Mom Needs to Know

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7Learning Is Power

"I wish people knew that no matter how severely a child or adult with autism is affected, they are all capable of learning in their own way with the right supports in place." -- Anonymous mom

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8Change Happens

"Their bodies function as a typical teenager [during puberty]. So meeting their needs can be a more challenging dynamic." -- Anonymous mom

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9All You Need Is Love

"Initially, you can only see loss and fear: loss of the normal parenting experience everyone else seems to have, fear for your child. But then a slow miracle unfolds and you grow to LOVE being an autism mom. It's wacky and fun and totally left-of-center. It makes neurotypical parenting look excruciatingly dull." -- Anonymous mom

More from The Stir: 10 Inspiring People With Autism Who've Accomplished Amazing Things 

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