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“A GIANT plateful of brownies and just enough milk” – Why I’m Thankful

The Perisin Family: (from left to right) Peter, Ben, Laura, and Josh)

From left to right:  Peter, Ben, Laura, and Josh Perisin

With Thanksgiving this week, it seems an apt time to step back and think about what we’re thankful for. Like we did for our Father’s Day series,  we reached out to some of our AHSS team members and asked them to share what they’re most thankful for in being moms of autism. Our second entry comes from Laura Perisin. 

I titled my entry this because of what my youngest said to me this week. Ben is our ‘Neurotypical’ 11 year old who. He saw Josh, our 13 year old with autism, having a rough day and said:

“With all the different doctors, therapies, and all the time we put towards Josh, we have to think of it like we were given a GIANT plateful of brownies to eat and just enough milk to cut the sweetness; because just when you think it is too much, you take a drink of that milk and you can eat more and keep on going.”

Hearing my 11 year old come up with that positive analogy was amazing and made me realize how thankful I am that we can all be on our journey together as a family. I am thankful for my husband, Peter, who is always by my side on Josh’s journey. Josh’s autism has changed me as a person and I am thankful for that because I now have so many neat people in my life. Without Josh’s autism, I would have never met all these mothers, speakers, advocates, educators, social workers, case managers, counselors, guidance counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, nurses, pediatricians, sleep specialists, speech therapists, OTs, DTs, pediatric specialists, mentors (*see below for more on this!), ABA therapists, BCBAs — and that is not even naming them all! I say my life sure would have been boring without Josh!

I am thankful for all my extended family that understands we need a certain kind of pasta and sauce every time we visit, and they understand if the holidays are a bit hard for Josh. I am thankful to my parents, sister, and nephew who I do not get to see as much as I would like because we are in so many therapies and have doctor visits so we can not road trip — but they ‘get it’ and we make it more meaningful during the times we do get together. I am thankful to my in-laws who have been very supportive and helpful.


We are all thankful we get to see a world that is sometimes not accepting of autism because it just gives us the chance to educate and appreciate the chance to see someone change. I am thankful for the things I cannot change, such as:


  • Josh is silly!
  • He loves to be outside,
  • loves his therapist’s/therapy,
  • loves to know when I will be home,
  • loves to know when his dad will be home,
  • and greets us like we have been gone for weeks every time we come in the door.

I am thankful that Josh is not bothered by some of the petty things in this world. I am thankful we have so much in common. We both love to eat, talk a lot, make people happy, text, be in the car and listening to music, cuddle up under a blanket when it’s cold. We also share a fear of spiders and sudden loud noises!


 Thank you to everyone in our lives who accept our family as we are, autism and all; all-you-can-eat brownies and a little bit of milk is what you get with us!
by Laura Perisin, AHSS Family Support Coordinator and mom of autism 
*On mentors and above pictures:  Can I just say that this was the best experience ever? Noah came to every single rehearsal for 5 months. And in the two weeks leading up to the huge production they rehearsed for 3 hours every single night! He and his family were so sweet! I am amazed at people!
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