Timothy, a 7-year-old with severe autism spectrum disorder, wholeheartedly embraces life through his love and playfulness. Navigating school requires additional support, and at times, he appears blissfully unaware of what unfolds right in front of him.
DEAR (SUPER COOL) MOM WHO DID SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR MY AUTISTIC SON,
You and I may be strangers, connected only by the fact that our children share a school bench. My son, Timothy, often finds a place beside your child.
Timothy, my beautiful and autistic son, yearns for friendship. He desires to play, yet struggles with the nuances of initiation. In his heart, he wishes for inclusion, though sometimes the way to express it eludes him.
As parents of children with special needs, we understand the sting our kids feel when excluded from social events—be it organized sports, play dates, sleepovers, or the ubiquitous birthday parties.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for the numerous invitations we’ve received over the years. Most come from children who generously include the entire class, a gesture for which I am truly thankful.
However, I often ponder if those extending the invitations truly grasp the challenges Timothy might bring. The potential interruptions, the meltdowns—he deserves to be part of the celebration without stealing the spotlight from the birthday child.
Consequently, we’ve politely declined every single invitation, fearing the impact Timothy’s presence might have.
That was until your invitation arrived in the mail, accompanied by a special note. It read:
“CARTER SAT BESIDE TIMOTHY AT SCHOOL AND HE ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT HIM. I REALLY HOPE HE CAN COME. WE ARE RENTING A BOUNCE CASTLE THAT WE CAN ATTACH A SMALL BOUNCE SLIDE AT THE BOTTOM. WE WILL ALSO HAVE WATER BALLOONS AND WATER GUNS. MAYBE TIMOTHY CAN COME EARLIER IN THE DAY IF IT WOULD BE TOO MUCH WITH THE WHOLE CLASS. LET ME KNOW HOW WE CAN MAKE IT WORK.”
our words arrived at a moment I didn’t anticipate, yet they were precisely what I needed. Little did you know, your son’s presence has made a profound impact.
Because of your son, mine experiences inclusion. Because of your son, he feels wanted and has found a voice amidst the crowd.
Your understanding has provided me with strength to face each day, to navigate through countless appointments, and endure the stares and questions that come our way.
Your support gives me hope for Timothy’s future, and I want you to know what a fantastic job you are doing as a parent. Your kindness has made a difference, and for that, I am truly grateful.
With heartfelt appreciation,