wordsofthankfulnessOne exercise that I learned in mindfulness training is to jot down the things I’m grateful for.  The point is to be aware that while difficulties are present in our lives, there are people and things that make the load a little lighter. This is not always an easy thing to do when I’m not feeling particularly thankful for sleep deprivation or challenging behavior. I do find it helpful though to consciously do this from time to time. 

At this time of year, we at Seattle Children’s Autism Center would like to call to mind the reason we are here – YOU.  While we wish we knew each other under different circumstances, we are keenly aware of how much better we are because of you and all who live with autism. 

I asked our staff what they are thankful for when it comes to the families we serve and this is what they said . . .

I am thankful that I am allowed to witness all the incredible strength and perseverance I see in our families. It inspires me to do more.  Jennifer Mannheim, ARNP 

I am so, so thankful for the opportunity to share in moments of growth with families. It is a privilege and a constant source of inspiration!  Jo Ristow, SLP 

I’m grateful to our families for allowing our team to work in partnership with them and share in the excitement of their child’s growth and development.  Katie Harrison, ARNP 

I’m thankful for families willing to help advance our understanding of ASD and I’m thankful for families wiling to be patient with the scientists that are doing their best (but still taking too long to answer the important questions).  Raphe Bernier, PhD 

I am thankful for all of you who share your beautiful children with us.  Amber Persons, BCaBA 

I’m thankful for my fellow parents and colleagues who partner together to make life a little easier for all. I’m a better parent and clinician because of you!  Lynn Vigo, LICSW

I am thankful for all of the things that parents of kids with autism do to make the lives of their children better and meaningful.  Peter Kollros, MD 

I’m thankful that families are always teaching me about my job.  Rachel Montague, PhD 

I am thankful for all of the siblings who provide support to their brother or sister during appointments. A sibling nearby often helps the visit to seem not so scary.  Karen Sporn, ARNP

I appreciate how much our parents do for their children. They are so diligent and faithful. They are true advocates who unconditionally love and care for their children.  Jana Wardell, Communications

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with parents raising children with autism.  I have the honor of witnessing your courage, strength, and resilience. You enrich my life and inspire me simply by being who you are—-amazing!  Katrina Davis, Family Services

I’m so incredibly grateful for all the families who put their trust into us, who inspire us to try harder, who remind us of the never-ending potential every child, regardless of ability. I’m grateful for them, and their children/young adults reminding us to slow down and enjoy the finer things, to give people the benefit of the doubt and to find the beauty in all humans.  Tammy Mitchel, Alyssa Burnett Center

Wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Seattle Children’s Autism Center