What I Want My Child With Autism To Know

by Jamie Henderson

My sweet boy,

I’m writing you this letter I know you will most likely never read, mainly because I will probably hide it from you. I have a lot I want to tell you, but with you only being 7, I feel like this may be too much for you so I will let the public read it instead.

There are things that, if I had the power, I would change to make your life better. But my job isn’t to change the past, but to make your present and future the best that I can.

I can only imagine the struggles you endure in silence every day. I will never know the extent of your confusion or how your brain processes stimuli. I will never understand why you are stimming constantly for days in a row and then nothing for weeks. I feel so helpless when I know that you’re going through something, but I don’t know how to help you. I try so hard to try to put myself in your shoes, but there is no way to know how you feel until you are able to communicate with me about it.

I have seen when kids have taunted you or made fun of you, and it infuriates me. I try to educate these kids that you will grow up with to try to get them aware and be supportive of you. I hope and pray that you don’t hear their criticisms. You are the happiest kid in the world, and I’ll be damned if the opinions of others, especially kids that are supposed to be your friends ruin your outlook on life. Just last week I had to explain to a boy why you talked “funny” because I saw him mocking you. You, of course, didn’t notice, but I did and it broke my heart. After I talked to him about it, I had to hold in my tears and frustration until we were in the car. I try to not cry in front of you about these situations, but sometimes mama’s shield of toughness doesn’t do its damn job.

It’s been me and you since you were one. I’m sorry that your dad isn’t around. I’m sorry that you weren’t lucky enough to have one of those great dads. I’m sorry that it took me months to explain to you that you didn’t have a dad, because you started to notice that other kids had something that you didn’t. But you know what? We are doing just fine on our own. We have each other and you have the best Nana in the world.

I’m sorry that we have to fight about you eating. Kid, I know you would love to live off of chips and M&M’s, but that’s not cool with me. I make you drink your meal replacements drinks because I love you, and you need to stay healthy. So let’s not fight about that anymore. I think one day you will realize that I’m the “boss.” (Probably not.)

I absolutely love you, but sometimes I hate autism. I hate the struggles that you have to endure in silence. I hate the constant worry. I hate the fact that I want the best life for you but that I have to fight for services to help you. I mostly hate the uninformed population that judge you based off of one meltdown in public. Screw you judgmental people. I’m not in the mood for you.

You are a strong, resilient boy, and you amaze me daily. You are very stubborn (which you get from me), and we have our moments of who has the higher ground, but, Jaxon, you have my whole heart and nothing will ever change the way I look at you in awe.

Love you,