WELCOME TO HOPE GROWS FOR AUTISM

WELCOME TO HOPE GROWS FOR AUTISM

Hope grows together

Thank You from A Child on The Spectrum

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It never occurred to me as a child that I was different. This is thanks to two very important people in my life: my parents. To this day they have never made me feel as if anything is wrong with me. I am not lesser than anyone else.

Mom and dad, this one is for you:

You indulged my special interests. You’d patiently reenact the Magic School Bus scripts I’d memorized while driving in the car.  You spent hours embroidering a long piece of cloth so I could dress in authentic ancient Egyptian fashion, pretending to live in the world of old gods and goddesses that fascinated me. When we went to museums you let me take my time, exploring the exhibits and reading all about them. When it was apparent that my love for animals would not be short-lived, you gave me every opportunity to work with them. Dogs, cats, horses, chickens, I loved and learned about creatures of all kinds. Despite neither of you having much of an interest in cosmetics, you indulged my obsession. You always made sure I had quality makeup and skincare before I could afford to purchase it on my own. Instead of shunning my interest in politics, you allowed our home to become an agora of sorts. We discussed controversial topics at the dinner table and you allowed me to build my own views.

Finally, when I got my medical card and a federally illegal substance became an obsession, you watched and waited. You never  forbid me. When it became clear that cannabis was actually helping and I was beginning to build a career in the industry you not only allowed it, you supported me. Your support for my interests has always helped me feel strong and loved.

When I had to wake up every day and face a world that was so loud, so bright, so overwhelmingly painful, you never made me face it alone. Before I could advocate for myself you fought for me. Counseling sessions. IEP meetings. You tirelessly worked to make the world a better place for a daughter who you knew was struggling greatly. My brain ran on a different processing system. One you had learned to work with, and when others did not know how to work with my brain you taught them. Like a feverish architect you ran around my world, building the support systems I needed to thrive. Then, as I got older, you began to hand me your tools so I could advocate for myself. When self-advocacy is a burden I cannot carry alone you step beside me and take off some of the weight while allowing me to struggle and learn.

Sometimes everything is not enough. Sometimes despite all of your support and efforts I crumble. Whenever this happens, you have never been more than a call away. When I am breaking down because I have failed at a basic human interaction, misread a social cue, or acted inappropriately you help me leave behind the shame and move forward to do better next time.

Every time the sensory world becomes a storm and is too much. When sound stings like needles and light rips through my eyes.  When an unexpected touch leaves me feeling so hurt that it feels like I would need to peel my skin off to feel okay again… you listen. And then instead of trying to fix a pain that cannot be fixed, you let me know that I am loved. That no matter what happens, what I do, or how much I struggle I am always your daughter and that to you, I am irreplaceable. And for that I am very, very lucky.

Thank you.

While I wrote this for my parents I have decided to share it with the world. My hope is that it can warm the hearts and raise the spirits of the parents of autistic children everywhere. Even if we don’t say it, your support is invaluable.

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