Very OT - For anyone with a heart
  Re: (...)
I am compiling a book entitled: Letters of Hope: Journeys through Autism . These are letters from parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, siblings or classmates who have been touched by a child with autism.

I wanted to share the first draft letter I wrote to my daughter with you wonderful people.


Dear Maggie,

When I heard you had autism you were so young (20 months) and I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. There was so much still not known about autism and there was no clear path for us to travel. I was concerned and time was passing by us so fast. I cried a lot. Nobody understood my feelings and could not offer much help.

I remember one time seeing a neighbor in the parking lot of Target while you were having a famous tantrum. You were so wild I could hardly hold on to you. Recently you had decided you didn’t like Target and would not go in. I never knew why. As a way of offering assistance, my neighbor told me you needed more discipline and perhaps a few spankings. I tell you what, I wanted to spank HER!

I knew you didn’t need ‘more spankings’. What you needed was more ways to communicate! Believe me; I received my share of unwanted parenting advice from the most ignorant people. Most of it was well-meaning, but usually uninformed and misguided. I tried to smile, nod my head and ignore it most of the time.

We took baby steps though. You really like sign language. Early on I thought sign language could be a way for you to communicate with others. You caught on so quickly. It was so impressive how these signs helped you to form some words and KEEP THEM! I was so proud of you. You learned the whole Signing Time series eventually. Some words you still could not say, like: milk and your name.

One morning, very early when it was still dark, you woke up and made noise (you never called to be picked up). I turned on the hallway light and opened the bedroom door. As I walked into your bedroom, you stood and began to ‘sign’ the word ‘light’ repeatedly. You were signaling to that you knew the word ‘light’. This was my ‘Helen Keller’ moment. I knew you were teachable. This was my revalation.

We began to try little things like flaxseed oil. Until you discovered it in your oatmeal and from then on refused to eat oatmeal. Probably my fault, maybe I added a little too much hoping it would work better. Then you developed a keen sense for it and knew anything I put it in and wouldn’t touch it. I think it helped though.

When you discovered PECS or PCS you really went to town learning. I put those symbols everywhere! You loved them. When I began cutting them and taping them into Dr. Seuss books, you began to read! You still couldn’t say your name, but you could read a book! Hooray! I can’t tell you how proud I was of you.

As you grew, I did too. I learned so much about your needs and discovered new ways to help you overcome the roadblocks that stood in your way. After a summer of speech therapy, you were finally able to say, “My name is Maggie.” Those were beautiful words to hear. Again, I was so proud of you. It gave you some more independence, and then next time someone asked, “What’s your name?” Instead of a long pause, you were able to answer on your own.

You have made me so proud of you every step of the way. You are a remarkable little girl who is turning into a beautiful young lady. You have made so many accomplishments and in many ways are ahead of your peers. You are a loving, sweet and very smart girl. I am so honored to be your mother.

I love you,


"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by luvnit (I am compiling a boo...)
What a fortunate daughter to have you for a mom. This letter is a treasure indeed.

The incidence of autism is especially high in California and we have friends with autistic children, two boys, and a friend with an autistic grandson. They, too, are patient and loving,and seeing progress, however difficult and often slow with their children. I learn a lot about 'priorities' as I learn more about my friends
and their love for their children/grandchild expressed in circumstances that are very difficult.
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by sophia (What a fortunate dau...)
Thank you, Laura, for sharing such a loving insight to such a challenging journey.
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by iBcookin (Thank you, Laura, fo...)
Oh Laura, that is just beautiful! I am so darn ignorant in this area and I'm so impressed and in awe of the love, patience and innate knowledge you have to love and help your child.

She's such a lucky child and you're such a lucky mom!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by cjs (Oh Laura, that is ju...)
Okay, I'll try to type this through the tears...tears of joy for sure! This is such a wonderful tribute to the many children who are affected by this condition. Not every child with special needs have a parent like you...actually few do.

Maggie is such a lucky little girl! She has a mommy that has worked, and continues to work,to make her future full of possibilities. She has her very own cheerleader to celebrate her every accomplishment. As a teacher who sees children with special needs ever day and the parent of a "special" child, I know how hard you have worked,the sleepless nights you have endured, and the private moments when tears of joy and frustration have streamed down your face. But know this, your reward is that wonderful little lady you have before you who will continue to amaze you every day. Mine still does, and he'll soon be 26!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by Gourmet_Mom (Okay, I'll try to ty...)
Oh Laura what a beautiful moment and you shared it with us. I cannot imagine what is it like to walk in your shoes. Because of Maggie my eyes have been open and I am so much more aware now. Like when I see a child "misbehaving". I no longer assume it's because the parent can't control their child.

Then to overcome the communication barrier. What a feat!! It's moms like you that inspire all of us to do a little more and perhpas have a bit more patience.

Thank you **hugs**
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by DFen911 (Oh Laura what a beau...)
Very sweet letter, Laura!

Today at a luncheon, the speaker who is a local TV news personality told a story that I thought you'd appreciate. She started a weekly segment called "Kids to Know" and it features a local young person who is doing something remarkable that isn't typically a news item. One parent contacted her about her autistic son who had published a book about being autistic. The mom told the news lady that her son with Asperger's syndrome had no same age friends and had never even been invited over to a friends house to play. After the story aired, the principal of the boy's school made a big deal of it and everyone in the school watched the segment. Then the mother called the news lady to tell her how happy she was with the segment and that her son had "rock star" status at school and even received an invitation to a classmate's birthday party. The boy wrote a second book and dedicated it to the News lady. She said this in answering the question of what was one of her most interesting stories covered.
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by HomeCulinarian (Very sweet letter, L...)
Very nice Laura! I am going to go hug Kambree now and be glad that she is progressing well.

Your strength and love is an inspiration to Holly and I...
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)
  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by firechef (Very nice Laura! I ...)
Don't wait too long to tell someone you love them.

  Re: Re: Very OT - For anyone with a heart by bjcotton (Wow!...)
Thank you so much for sharing that, Laura.
Empress for Life

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