Learning to appreciate the little things is one of the profound lessons that that family members experience from children with special needs or autism. There may be grief and frustration over what a child cannot do, but learning to celebrate what a child can do brings a very special joy. (Photo from the Parents of Special Needs Facebook)
At a parent support group meeting, a father of a boy with limited speech told how he was leaving for work and tried to give his son a kiss. His son said, "I don't need a kiss dad." His father was very excited as he told this story. That his boy spoke in a sentence overpowered the momentary rejection of his wish to give his son a kiss.
A mother who had suffered through many failed play dates shared her happiness when her son enjoyed playing with a classmate after school in their home.
A little girl with cerebral palsy has a blast every time her dad takes her to the zoo. She notices other children walking, but she is perfectly happy as a five-year-old in a stroller.
A grandmother shared how her grandson has learned to take turns playing games that his sister likes.
My own son drank from a straw for the first time at age 9.
Many children and adults living with various differences and limitations may not reach typical milestones on time—or at all. Members of the Washington State Fathers Network celebrate their children's progress calling these steps "inch stones."
The joy I see in mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and therapists as well rivals the thrill reaching typical milestones. Like beauty it's in the eye of the beholder.