It is hard to believe that my son, Brandon is thirty-seven. We have been through a lot. There were so many times I felt like giving up and felt beat down, but my love for my son kept me going. Brandon has taught me so much and these are just a few of the lessons and tools I learned while raising him:

1. Do not listen to others when they say your child can not do something.

2. Always trust your instincts and trust your heart.

3. Be respectful, especially when you think it does not matter.

4. Being different can be beautiful.

5. Encourage buildings self-esteem.

6. Always listen to the silence in between the words.

7. Having and giving support helps to soothe the soul.

8. Taking care of yourself first gives you the strength to carry on.

9. Gratitude is a powerful tonic.

10. Hope and believing will take you through any storm.

11. Kindness is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

12. Never giving up is key.

13. ACCEPTANCE is the Answer!

There is no other way I would have learned all these wonderful tools and lessons, if it were not for the love I have for my son. Not only has he made me a better person, he has given me a purpose. I always knew as a young child that I would become a speaker, but I never knew what the subject would be. Because of Brandon, I am an Autism Motivational Speaker, and I love what I do.

I can not thank my son enough for silently demanding that I grow and change every step of the way. He made me see life though his eyes and taught me to how to dig deep inside, and be creative, and think outside the box. Yes, it took time to see the good and to be able to switch from feeling negative to being positive. But once I surrendered and accepted my son just as he was, our relationship completely changed for the better.