Grief and Autism

Grief comes in many forms.  When we have a child born who doesn’t fit the “perfect” mold, part of us is shattered, and putting the pieces back together can be very difficult, especially without support.

I don’t have the Canadian statistics, but Autism rates in the U.S. are 1 in 110 for children aged three to eighteen.  How utterly astonishing and something I was terribly ignorant about until I met a fantastic lady by the name of Babette Zschiegner.

Babette has two boys and they are both on the spectrum.  Her oldest, has more classic autism and is non-verbal.  Her youngest has high functioning autism or what is often referred to as Aspergers Syndrome.  She describes them as both having varied and unique challenges and blessings.

Babette has ambitious goals that are now becoming a reality in helping other parents whose children have autism.  These are, but not limited to her new book “Traveling With Your Autistic Child” and one on one coaching immediately following a diagnosis of autism so that parents can realize their lives will be different, but not over.

Babette explains that not just cross country or overseas traveling can overwhelm parents, but even an otherwise simple trip to the grocery store, can seem an insurmountable task, leading to isolation and depression.  However, Babette is living proof that parents can still have much joy in their lives with their children regardless of a diagnosis of Autism.

In no way, shape or form can I understand what that must feel like.  We all have a picture of what our lives will be like with our children, the dreams we have for them, the experiences we hope to share and a diagnosis of Autism or any other disease, can make those imaginings seem impossible to obtain. James and I chose to adopt a child with special needs, we were emotionally and mentally prepared, planned for it and weighed the risks and benefits – a completely different scenario.

However, what I can relate to is the feeling of being cheated.  When I watch my niece who is younger than Stefanie reach all the milestones that we should have already celebrated, my feelings are mixed –  happy for her, who I love dearly –  but also cheated by Stefanie’s death and I feel sadness and disappointment.

I would like to ask that if you know a parent of a child with Autism, send them this link.  They may do nothing with it, which is fine, but sometimes we keep our hurt inside and such an email might be the answer they are silently looking for.

Her book, which would be a great gift to any parent with an autistic children, is available at or at this link:  and her website is and email,

I am not writing this blog post because I benefit in any way.  I promise to never support a sales scheme or gain financially.  I believe in Babette and the good she is doing and my goal is to support as many people as possible who have had a devastating heartbreak but have decided to do the very best as they can and then help others in return.


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