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  • Autism Council of Utah

Life with Autism

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

You are not alone! Designed to be a forum for sharing experiences and gaining understanding of others trials and successes, we hope this page will strengthen you and help you through tough times…and even make you laugh. Get a cold drink, pull up a chair, and click around for a while. Because really, we are only as strong as our Diet Coke, our hairspray or Old Spice, and our friends. Living with autism can be very challenging and yet very rewarding. Families and individuals react differently to the same situations, but they can all provide us with insight.

My Son, Carson: By Cheryl Smith

My son, Carson, has autism. Autism never sleeps, it doesn’t take a day off, or a vacation, it’s always there waiting for him, and me.

Some times it feels forever heavy, like I am being pressed down into a dark hole, my spirit shattered into tiny pieces. I know I can get out, just not today. I wonder how he feels.

I never knew so much worry and pressure to make it ok, to help him, to pay for it, to be happy, to be the mom to all, and the wife, all while teaching him to look at me, to put on his socks, to eat with a fork, to flush the toilet. Nothing is how I thought it would be. I am always unsure if I’m doing the right thing.

I also didn’t know there could be so much joy to know him, to hear him say “mom”, to hear him sing with the Sleeping Beauty video as if it were the concert of a lifetime, to see his sunshine smile, and to get that reciprocal hug and feel, if only for a fleeting moment, his love for me.

I can taste the salt on my face while laughing through my tears when I hear him shout, “To infinity and beyond!” I wish I could go inside his head for even a bit to see what’s going on in there. But then I realize that I would still be an outsider. He gets it, I don’t, so I continue to try and pull him into my world, while I’m sure he wonders what’s wrong with his.

This boy, Carson, my son, my hero, has a life that’s a rough and bumpy road, with lots of winding country turns, potholes, washboards, and natural disasters to navigate. But along this road are butterflies, wild field flowers, glassy lakes and many wonderful things to see and do along the way. He takes me to unexpected places, powerful and amazing. I have to remind myself that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey.

We can’t take the sands of life and sift out the parts we don’t want, the hard and sharp stones that hurt us, but we can use these stones, the ones we would have done anything to avoid, to learn, to love, and to smooth us into a better person.

Carson is my sunshine, my Diet Coke with lemon, my soft blanket, my homemade bread on a snowy, winter day. My heart gets big when I think of him.


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