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Autism: Reflections through a Kaleidoscope

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As many of you know, we are a spanish-speaking family. When I tell my spanish-speaking friends about my blog (Finding Peace in the Autism Puzzle) I have “issues” with its name. See, the international symbol for ASD is a jigsaw puzzle… in spanish the word for that is “rompecabezas” which literally means head-breaker. Hmm… that does not quite work for me, so I use the word for a different type of puzzle: “laberinto” which means labyrinth. It’s funny because when we were brainstorming ideas for our walk team name and logo, several team members had reservations about the visual portrayal of a puzzle that is missing a piece.

This got me thinking… as Christians we believe God has a perfect plan for everything (Jeremiah 30:17-20). Our children came to our families and homes as a part of God’s master plan. A puzzle with a missing piece implies that our children are not complete and that we are on this endless search to find “the missing piece.” I have issues with that! I don’t think Nathan is incomplete! I think he sees the world differently than we do, like a kaleidoscope!

So this journey we are on is more of a labyrinth, since we are faced with so many unexpected turns, obstacles and walls along the way. We as families are not “incomplete,” we’re just on a more complicated path than most.

The Hampton Court maze in England planted between 1689 and 1695 by George London and Henry Wise. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The Hampton Court maze in England planted between 1689 and 1695 by George London and Henry Wise. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

I am frequently astounded by Nathan’s visual skills. He truly has a gift for the visual, though he struggles with language and social skills. This makes me wonder about the way kids with ASD view the world. I can only imagine what it must be like; Dr. Temple Grandin calls it “thinking in pictures”… only sometimes more like a picture viewed through a kaleidoscope. The world can be a crazy and scary place and when you have an altered view, I can only imagine it feels even worse!


Well, I have decided to stop thinking of my son as “missing a piece.” I have decided that this journey may be a labyrinth, but God is waiting for us at the end with His arms wide open! I have decided that my life, my son’s life, my family’s life is not a web to sort out or a bunch of broken pieces to put together. It is a tapestry woven with every bit that each of member of our “team” has contributed!

Right now it may look like an indiscernable compilation of intersecting strings but in my heart I can see the Lord holding the masterpiece in His hands, knowing in the end it will be one of a kind! 

Puzzle Autism
Debb & Nathan

I have named this post “reflections through a kaleidoscope” because that is what my personal blog has become. Each post is a reflection of what I am learning on this journey. Right now it looks fragmented and confusing, like the view through a kaleidoscope, but it is a beautiful view when you stop to admire the combination of colors and designs. I am walking by faith with Jesus holding my hand. I may not be able to see straight but that’s not for me to worry about… all I have to do is hold on tightly to His hand, trust in His promises and know that this is the life He chose for me (Psalms 121:1-4). One day I will be on the other side looking back and I WILL marvel at the perfect, one-of-a-kind masterpiece who is so aptly named “Nathan,” meaning a gift from God!

Be blessed!
Posted by: Debbie Caruso
Deborah "Debbie" Caruso is a trained occupational therapist with over 20 years experience working with the autism population. She has her post-professional Master's Degree from Tufts University with a concentration in public education of students with autism spectrum disorders. Debbie's greatest accomplishment is being a mom to an amazing little boy who happens to also have an autism spectrum disorder. She hosts a blog for Christian families traveling the puzzling journey of autism, posting uplifting stories and resources for families and professionals caring for loved ones with ASD.

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