Autistic kids and children have mothers (shocker), and these mothers tend to be badasses. Why? Because the majority go through leaps and bounds to help their kids have the life they deserve while navigating a world that is still learning how to be accommodating of their child’s neurodivergence.
As an autistic mom working with autistic children as a Speech Language Pathologist in Salt Lake City, I can attest to their unconditional love, energy and time, and nonstop battling for the needs of their children.
My own mother will never know how much I appreciated the numerous times she provided a sense of peace to me when I could not for the life of me stop freaking out over interactions with friends and my incessant processing of what was happening and being said around me. I vividly recall having to have her tell me I was handling peer situations appropriately or if I could adjust something by doing a, b, and c. Sometimes she’d have to repeat herself over a dozen times just so I could process what she was saying and truly get to a place of regulation. My mom was patient with me and she was there for me.
I wanted to hear about other autistic children and adults’ experiences and reached out to personal contacts, advocates and influencers on social media and asked the question: What do you want to say to your mom this Mother’s Day?
Here, in their own words, are their messages of love and truth.
“I love going upside down with mom, when mom lets me play my big tablet, and I love her waffles and syrup and eggs and salt!” — Winston Moore, a 6 year old twin who daily consumes the Who Would Win book series, loves his tablet time (me, too, buddy, me too) and is always aware of the exact location of his gorgeous mother.
“The older I get, the more I recognize how much you did and how hard you worked. I think a ton about how you raised me when people just didn’t understand autism as a spectrum. I also think how hard it was to raise two kids as a single mom after yours and dad’s marriage fell apart. But we never wanted for anything. So I just want to give you the credit you deserve and hope you are kind to yourself about it all.” — Eric Garcia is a senior Washington correspondent for The Independent and the author of “We’re Not Broken”, a book centered on the neurodivergent movement and a deep love for autistic people.
“Dear Mama, You told stories of lands I visited within my head. And stayed because it was the safest place I knew. You gifted me life, loved me tenderly, and saved me with your words. I came from you, my first home, and I return to you when I feel lost. This Mother’s Day I want you to know that you did the best you could, and that was more than enough for me.” — Tiffany Hammond, a mother with two autistic sons, behind the the Instagram account (@fidgets.and.fries)
“Mommy, thank you for accepting me as I was from the very beginning. Thank you for teaching me how to flourish and thrive with the way my brain works and never trying to change me. You are the reason I have confidence in myself and the reason I have always wanted to be a parent. Thank you and love you.” — Tiffany Joseph, a 41-year-old nonspeaking AAC user, advocates and advises on her social media platform (@nigh.functioning.autism).
“Looking back at my childhood as a young adult, I now understand you had my best interests in mind when advocating for my needs. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you!” –Leo Premru is a 21-year-old trans artist and psychology undergrad
“Dear Mom, I know you’re not mad at me. I know that you have so much going on in your life, and to believe you when you say ‘I love you, too,’ even with eyes full of so much pain. I know you still have much to learn about me, because I still have so much to learn about you. And I know that nothing on this earth could possibly make you angry at me, but I would like to apologize. I’d like to apologize for all the things we did wrong, and all the things we fought over. But look at where we are now. We have grown, and I have my mother back. And if you don't believe me, how is it that I know about the box of memories you keep, tucked so neatly under your pillow? Your son” — Matthew Rushin, 23, is pursuing a degree in speech and language pathology. He was wrongly convicted of a crime and was released in March 2021.
Quotes have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.