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10 reasons I'm grateful for my autism family this holiday season

This is a post by Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, mother to two sons on the autism spectrum and an Autism Family Partner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). CHOP is an Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site. Kim is also the author of a blog about her two children with autism at

Several weeks ago I had the good fortune to travel to Disney (which, in keeping with today’s theme, I was very grateful to do.) On our way down I sat next to my severely autistic son who gently rocked his way to Florida (I swear he helped with the momentum,) who behaved beautifully throughout the entire flight and put all my fears to shame. Since I was able to relax (!) on the plane I got to thinking about how grateful I am for my two autistic boys, both for the joy they bring me and my husband and for the way they’ve stretched our thinking about so many things in our lives.

Here are my top ten reasons for gratitude this holiday season.  My wish is that you and yours have a wonderful holiday season as well!

  1. I am grateful for Justin’s incandescent smile when all is right in his world.

  2. I am grateful for Zach’s passion to help others.

  3. I am grateful every day for how hard Justin works to communicate with the world.

  4. I am grateful for the way Zach introduces Justin to friends as his “brother with autism” like it’s no big deal.

  5. I am grateful that Justin shatters stereotypes about autism every day.

  6. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made in the autism community whom I would not have known if my boys were not autistic.

  7. I am grateful that even at twelve Justin still fits in my lap for his bedtime story each night.

  8. I am grateful for Zach’s unique world view.

  9. I am grateful for the way Justin makes me slow down and live in the moment

  10. I am grateful for the boundless affection the boys show one another.

Happy Holidays!


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.