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Simple plan


No advice needed

My first exposure to autism occurred during my first job out of college. One of my colleague’s grade-school sons was autistic.

On all fronts my colleague was a great mother who loved her children very much. When she and I talked, the conversation usually turned to her autistic son, the triumphs they had experienced and the challenges they faced.

She knew a lot about autism from independent, yet in-depth, research and regularly shared such information with anyone who would listen. Like a scientist bent on finding a cure, she came to work some days excited by her latest discovery or emotionally spent because of a perceived setback. Admittedly, whenever she appeared to be tired, cranky or frustrated, I avoided her figuring I did not have much to offer by way of an intelligent conversation about autism.

Looking back now — 15 years later — I probably shouldn’t have worried so much about that.

Instead, I should have just listened, told her I was sure she was doing her best, and that I would pray God would continue to give her wisdom and strength as she and her family moved forward.

Like most people who are struggling with something, she did not need advice; she needed a friend.

Know any people like that?

If so, do they know you’re willing to listen?

Kirk Noonan

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