I received an email yesterday from a most eloquent young woman. It almost seemed to good to be true, but she's for real. I have withheld her name for privacy, but have her permission to share this with you here.
I don't know how many emails you get from people without kids, but I thought you might appreciate hearing from someone who appreciates what you do!
I'm 20, about to graduate college and spend a year abroad studying Russian in Central Asia. (If you ask, I can name all of the former Soviet satellites.
I also have an autism spectrum disorder.
I could not have done half of the things that I have done without the help of my loving family. They had me tested, sent me to therapy and worked with me on all of the things that I needed to know how to do in order to help me become very successful.
Time and again, my mom went to bat for me over 504 plans from 3rd grade through high school. I have never seen someone defend me so well. Time and again, my father would show up dressed in his uniform to a meeting because a teacher had been unwilling to listen to the plan that had been developed for me.
They spent hours with me looking at different facial expressions and practicing them with me. They came and picked my up from lunch when the sound of the lunch room would fill my head and drown out my own ability to think. (To this day, I avoid loud, crowded places.)
Without them, I would be sitting in a corner, picking at my hair.
So, I just wanted you (and by extension, the other moms with non-neurotypical kids) to know that we can be successful.
We can go to college and live away from home.
We can go backpacking.
We can ace tests.
We can write 20 page papers and turn them in on time.
We can play sports. (Just usually not the ones involving tackling or balls.)
We can learn to talk to people.
We can make friends.
What you're doing makes a difference in the lives of your children.
Thanks for sharing your insights into the lives of your kids and I wish them the best of luck with their lives.
I know. I totally want to hang out with her and her obviously amazing parents, and just bask in their awesomeness. But for now, I'll just savor this letter, and know that our family is on the right path.