I believe in miracles. 

We experience them every day. Things that people take for granted: it could be a prolonged period of eye contact, appropriately timed laughter at a joke or funny situation, a full night’s sleep, a clean trip to the toilet or a new food tasted. 

One will never ever realise just how much the tiniest little things can be so extremely important until they’re not there anymore. Stanley said "mama" once and the odd beginnings of a word. But soon word dropped (that's a technical term) and he hasn't spoken since. 

I believe in acceptance. 

It personally took me a long time to 'accept' Stanley’s autism. On his 8th birthday last summer my husband and I - as a birthday treat, travelled down to Chessington World of Adventures, staying overnight in the hotel. I remember the build up, we prepared as well as we could... Symbols and social stories, we were looking forward to a 'normal' family weekend away. We arrived. We left. Total waste of a 4 hour car journey. It was simply too much for Stanley. Sensory overload. Too busy, too loud and despite obtaining queue jump wristbands we were still waiting longer than what Stanley (and us) could cope with. We were gutted and after 2 rides and an hours 'fight' to get him to stay (we had had our youngest Buddy with us too) Stanley using his PECs communicated "I want help home". So we checked out and we left. I think I cried all the way home to Norfolk. 

The next day we went to the beach just 5 minutes down the road from where we live. We walked along the sea edge, climbed rocks and enjoyed a picnic of prawn cocktail crisps, Haribo and Fruit Shoots. Stanley had the best time and was so happy and calm. This situation was a turning point for me. It taught me that I have to accept that Stanley’s expectations of a good time are not going to be the same as ours. Things that may excite children of the same age, that don't have autism, won't excite him. That a walk down the beach and a packet of his favourite crisps is enough. And finally, as sad as it is - leave visiting such places to days when Stanley is in respite so Buddy doesn't miss out, and not to feel guilty for doing so! 

I believe in gratitude. 

We accept that we have to take each day as it comes. We are grateful and thankful for every opportunity or situations that bring us laughter. That is priceless. Those unique little traits that Stanley has and his pleasure in the little things. 

I believe in celebration. 

I promise to celebrate the differences, not just in our child, but in us as parents. Celebrate the little things - because we know really, they are big things! 

For better or worse we have grown, adapted, educated and become better people for it, and I hope... Better parents. 

To find out more about Stan and his family head over to Marijka's Blog