8 Things My Son Is Thankful For This Thanksgiving

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs  over at AutismWonderland.

8 Things My Son is Thankful For on Thanksgiving - Autism Hopes Parents Magazine

Isn’t this the cutest craft? (Norrin made it in school with his speech therapist.)

The other day I opened Norrin’s school bag and pulled out this cute little craft. I had to laugh because the first thing I saw that Norrin was thankful for, was ‘Mac & Cheese.’ (That boy loves him some mac & cheese!) When I asked him about the craft, he said he made it with his speech therapist.

When Norrin was first diagnosed with autism, one of the first things the doctor told us was that Norrin lacked “imaginative play skills.” And since then, we’ve had to teach Norrin how to imagine. He’s a concrete thinker and abstract concepts often confuse him. Holidays – specifically, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – have been hard for him to understand. But in the last year or so, he’s starting to get it. And every year, Norrin gets it a little bit more.

This year, I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family and Norrin is excited. And we’ve been teaching him about gratitude and the things to be thankful for. That’s why I loved this craft so much – it gives us a visual to jump start a discussion.

So I decided to share Norrin’s slices of gratitude and why I think he’s thankful for them.

Mac & Cheese. When I was pregnant with Norrin, I ate mac & cheese almost every day. Norrin just started to like mac & cheese this last year and he is making up for lost time! Norrin loves going to restaurants and it’s the only thing he wants when we go out to eat. I love that it’s both of our favorite foods.

PT. Norrin hasn’t had physical therapy in two years but it’s something he should still be thankful for. His physical therapists worked with him to help him pedal a bike and kick a ball.

OT. Occupational therapy is probably Norrin’s favorite form of therapy. Over the years, his occupational therapists have helped Norrin with his body awareness and his fine motor skills. They’ve taught him to toss and catch a ball and to swing.

Speech. It’s hard to know who’s more grateful for speech – us or Norrin. While speech continues to be something we work on, Norrin is able to express his basic needs and feelings.

Sandwiches. Another one that made me laugh. Norrin isn’t necessarily a picky eater but he goes through phases of what he wants to eat. When all other food choices fail, sandwiches – PB&Js and ham & cheese – are always a safe choice.

Swimming. This is one of Norrin’s favorite activities. He is happiest when he’s in the water.

School. Norrin gets so much out of school, especially his current school. He socializes, he plays, he learns. The right school makes a difference. And now that Norrin is in the right place, we all see the difference. He still has his challenges, but Norrin’s school is capable of helping him work through them.

Dad. Norrin has such a great relationship with his dad (my husband, Joseph). They play video games, watch cartoons and build Lego sets together. Joseph really loves being silly with Norrin and always knows how to make him laugh.

Mom. Unlike Joseph, I am not always the “fun” parent (I don’t play video games) but Norrin loves me just the same. When he’s sick or scared or sad – my hand is the one he reaches for. I am his comfort.

BONUS! Family. This wasn’t part of the “pumpkin pie” but when I asked Norrin yesterday what he was thankful for, he said “family.” Norrin knows that he is loved and understood by his family. He is extremely close to my parents. He has a great relationship with a family that lives across the hall in our building. He loves time with his “Uncle Julio.” And Norrin loves playing with his friends, Chloe, Eden, Dylan and Olivia. There are people in his life that he knows he can depend on and he loves them.

 What are your kids thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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