An Open Letter to a Teacher From a Mom of a Child With Asperger's
Dear Ms./Mrs./Mr. (the teacher who is nice to my son and listens to him and honors his way of being and lets me know when he’s done something great),
Oh, my goodness, I want to thank you for being so open-hearted with my child! It means so much knowing my son is being cared for in the way I hope he will be.
I know how hard it can be, hooo-boy, do I know how hard it can be!
I wanted to write you because of your help, kindness, flexibility, and acceptance of my child. You share the good things that happen, not just the difficult moments. You just sent this to me after some elderly ladies visited your eighth-grade classroom:
“Every single one of them mentions Michael. And with that mention, they then become speechless. How remarkable he is, and how remarkable his brain really is. He just stuns people. I personally just smile when I hear this, and take joy in watching how others respond (so well) to Michael. I tell them he’s my favorite brain and, of course, my favorite person to chat with!”
Thank you for having an open heart and for allowing me some real safety that I depend on.
It helps more than you can even imagine.
One way it helps is that I’m calmer and more relaxed. Can you imagine how difficult it is waiting by the phone all day to see if the school administration will call me to come and get my son? It totally sucks to be on constant alert, ready to break away from whatever I might be doing. The help you provide Michael so he doesn’t go into breakdown mode nearly as often is so comforting to me.
And because I’m not as tense, you’re helping me be a better parent.
Because I can take care of everything I need to while he’s in school. Then I’m not as harried because I had to pick him up in trauma mode, which, as you can imagine, takes a long time to get through and recover from. We’re having more fun together.
Oh, I’m calmer as well. And since I’m calmer, guess who else is calmer? You got it—my son. You’ve created so much more peace in our family (and thus in our world!).
Who else should I thank?
We had one teacher in public school (first grade) who was so awesome we didn’t even know anything was wrong. My son needed more advanced schoolwork, which she provided as needed without question. She also let me come into the classroom a few times a week so I could read with the other students and be a consistent presence for Michael.
I won’t tell you about his second grade though. We got our diagnosis that year, and this is a happy letter.
His third grade teacher was radically awesome (just like you). She said things like, “Man, I love that kid” a lot. She said lots of other encouraging things because she saw how amazing my son is too.
I loved when she would print the itinerary out two weeks in advance of any field trip. She would review it with him, answer any questions he had, let him know she would be there if anything came up, and away he went. He was able to go anywhere the class went because she listened to him, respected his needs, and followed through on her promises. He trusted her.
And you … I appreciate you more than you know.
This thank-you is not just from me though. This letter of gratitude is from all the parents who have teachers they can depend on to help their children thrive (and not simply survive).
With so much love,
Mica Gadhia is a mother of two kids, one who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her greatest hope for her journey as a parent with a child who is labeled with high-functioning autism is that we all feel belonging and acceptance. Mica knows we’re in this together, through thick and thin. You might consider her one of your tribal sisters because she’s a mother who “gets it.” Mica works hard to promote love and acceptance for all of us as we make it through this journey together. She fully realizes that chocolate and medication might be involved, but mostly she focuses on peace and patience for every one of us. Join Mica on Facebook to celebrate your child’s favorite teacher and visit Mica’s blog, Living With a Different Brain.
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