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It's hard being an autism parent. Yes, we are the ones who get told what terrible parents we are by complete strangers when our kid melts down in the supermarket.

We are the ones who get the mean eye when our kid lies on the ground at the zoo running sand through his or her fingers while the other kids are looking at the animals. We are the ones whose own parents, like as not, think we somehow caused the autism by some sort of unspecified over-lenience. We don't always help each other either - this faction or that faction within the autism community will attack the other instead of standing shoulder to shoulder trying to figure their way through this grand and wonderful enigma that has taken over our lives.

But we are in for life. We are in beyond the grave in fact, needing to make sure we set up the structures for our children’s' livelihoods when we ourselves are gone.

It doesn't help us when we come in for flak - we have to get on with the day to day job anyway and a lot of us are walking wounded sometimes. Not so much because of the autism, which is such a wonderful way of being, but because of neuro-typical reactions to us or our kids.

But it's inevitable. So how do we make it work for us? The hidden blessing when we feel under fire is that it throws us back on our own resources.

It comes back to dreams: what are the things that really feed your soul? Are you doing enough of them? Are you telling yourself you don't have the time, that you somehow don’t deserve to do these things that make you happy?

But you must, because otherwise you will burn out, and if we burn out we can no longer be of service to those that rely on us.

So what are your dreams? What are the things you long to do, even if it’s a simple walk, a chance to paint, a stolen afternoon with a book - the really simple stuff that put the gas back in your tank?

And then, while you try and take a few more moments per week for these very simple but very necessary retreats into your own soul, let your subconscious mull this question: is it possible that my child's autism and the challenges it is bringing me, might actually be the key, somehow, in some way I can’t see right this second, to the dreams I’ve harbored since I was a child? Can my service to my child be rolled into these dreams? what would that look like - might me and my child even go into business together some day, produce something amazing together that becomes his or her livelihood after I’m gone? What if that were possible?

Just ask the question....