Timothy, a 7-year-old autism spectrum disorder youngster, loves and plays with all of his heart. He needs a lot of additional help in school and often looks to be utterly clueless about what’s going on right in front of his eyes. “DEAR (AWESOME) MOM, WHO DID SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR MY AUTISTIC SON, You and I don’t know one other, yet my son, Timothy, sometimes sits next to your child at school. My autistic child wants to make friends but doesn’t always know where to look.
He wants to play but isn’t always sure how. He wants to participate but isn’t always sure how. We special-needs parents understand the grief our children experience when they are excluded from social groups. Sports, play dates, sleepovers, and, of course, the dreaded birthday party are all part of growing up. I can safely tell that none of them have been attended by my kid. We’ve received several invites in recent years, mainly from kids who invite the whole class. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate it.
But I’m wondering whether the parents know what would happen if I brought Timothy. The stutters, the meltdowns. I don’t want to take away the limelight from the birthday kid. As a consequence, we respectfully refuse. Each and every one of them. Until your invitation, accompanied by a handwritten message, came in the mail.
“CARTER SAT BESIDE TIMOTHY AT SCHOOL AND HE ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT HIM,” it went on to say. I truly hope he will be able to join us. WE’RE RENTING A BOUNCE CASTLE WITH A SMALL BOUNCE SLIDE ATTACHED AT THE BOTTOM. WATER BALLOONS AND WATER GUNS WILL BE AVAILABLE AS WELL. TIMOTHY MAY BE ABLE TO COME EARLIER IN THE DAY IF THE CLASS IS TOO LARGE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK.”
Without without realizing it, you spoke just what I needed to hear that day. Because of your kid, he is included. Because of your kid, he feels wanted. Because of your kid, he has a voice.
And I want you to know that you are the reason I can go through another day.Because of you, I’ll be able to book another appointment. Because of you, I can tolerate more stares and inquiries.Because of you, I am optimistic about Timothy’s future.I just wanted to say how fantastic you are with your child. Sincerely, Timothy’s mother is grateful.”