What I Would Tell the Other Kids
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Several nights ago we took my son to the park just before dusk. It had been in the mid 60’s out and nice weather for playing outside. My son who is autistic, apraxic, and who also has several other diagnoses, was having a blast following the other kids around, and riding on the little merry-go-round.
Several times the other kids would ask him questions like, “What’s your name?” or “How old are you?” But in Adam’s excitement, he didn’t seem to hear or understand. He was happy to be running around and playing outdoors. Several times one of the other kids asked me what he was saying, and I had to interpret. We find ourselves trying to explain why he has difficulties talking a lot more the older he gets.
Little kids don’t seem to understand. They will yell in his face over and over thinking that will get their questions answered or give him mean or weird looks because he is different and in his own little world at times.
If I could sit each one down and gently talk to each of these kids about my son, this is what I would say, this is what I would want them to know:
Dear Little Ones,
I know my son seems different, and I know that he does not talk as well as you do, but if you would be willing to give him a chance you would find that he is the sweetest little boy you will ever know. He may seem to be hyper and very excitable, but this is because he finds so much joy in the world around him.
If would take the chance to get to know him, to slow down and try to understand him, you would love the few words he would have to say. Although you might not understand every word, he does understand you and loves to watch what you do. He absolutely loves other children and while he may come across a little “rough around the edges” it’s really just his way of showing you he cares.
It may be annoying when he babbles the same few words over and over or when he copies everything you do, but that’s only because he admires you. He learns from watching others and loves to do what they do too.
If you would only give my son a chance he would make a great friend, he is loyal and caring and truly loves the people around him. I hope that you too will see him the way I do, and decide that even though he may be a little different, he is a great person to get to know better.
A Special Needs Mom
At times it’s hard to watch as my son interacts with others. Many do not understand him and I worry that as he gets older he will have an even harder time making friends.
I cannot always protect him from the hurts of this world and from others, but I can tell others about my son, and hope that one day they decide to give him a chance and see what an amazing little boy he truly is.
love it! thank you.
This is absolutely beautiful. I feel like you wrote the exact words I want to say. I will be sharing this post. Thank you so much for writing it!
I love this and hope to educate my daughter on how everyone is different at a really early age. Not the same thing at all, but my dad has a disability and I remember at a very young age, kids my age making fun of him. It hurt me so much and I’ve always tried to remember that feeling when I meet someone who’s different. Great post, Kathryn.
I appreciate that. I hope that more parents will do that. I mean even in my home I was not educated on those types of things. I remember being scared of special needs people from a young age because I didn’t know how to act around them or what to do. I know Adam isn’t that bad, but there are other people out there who have kids who are and I know they would appreciate others learning more about them too. That’s so sad about your dad and so sorry that people treated him poorly and that you had to see that. I cannot even imagine. People can be so cruel. I think the more we make people the aware of this things, then hopefully the better it will get! Thanks for sharing, girl!
What a beautiful letter!
Thank you! 🙂
Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing. So many times when we are living in our own little world, we don’t think about other family’s struggles. I only hope that this teaching moment for other kids results in a ‘different’ child being a non-issue one day soon. Sending some SITS Comment LOVE!
What a beautiful article and beautiful words, blessings to you and your family.
I love love love love this. My son is 6, with high functioning Autism, but like your little guy “lacks social grace” I totally get what you are saying – other little kids don’t understand, so it takes understanding moms and dads, right?
Oh, beloved Kathryn. My son is twelve and has autism, too. He is doing so well and loves junior high. His social skills are getting better, too. I’m so glad your little guy enjoys himself out there, even if the others “don’t get it.” Brava to you for being such a warm, loving Mommy.
PS – I was raised with a brother who had Down’s Syndrome. A primary difference was John looked like he had special needs, it is obvious he was unique. Our boys look like everyone else, so people don’t expect their brand of uniqueness. Great in most ways except tough, too – especially because Samuel, my son, was so tall when he was a little guy people expected him to be older and more mature than he was. HUGS to all of you!
It must be hard to see this happen to your boy but a great post and a lovely letter.
Thank you for sharing.
What a lovely letter! This is actually a great letter for family members who don’t understand as well. What a lovely blog you have! #SITSblogging
Thank you for sharing this post! It is so beautiful, and I can tell your little guy has a great mama standing behind him. I’m sure you are a big reason for his love and enjoyment of life. 🙂
This is beautiful. I have a good friend with a special needs son. It is always a wonderful feeling when you see someone being kind to him even though he is different.
Coming by from the SITS Comment Love tribe!
This is beautiful. Yes, kids have a hard time understanding why some people might not be what they expect, but hopefully other families will learn from you and teach their own kids more tolerance and a gentler way of approaching these situations.
Kinda wish I found your blog sooner. I just survived our first deployment heh.
What a beautiful letter! You are a definite soldier of love for your little guy. Trust God with the trials and I know He’ll continue to strengthen you on this journey. My niece opened an event center to help with after school programs for autistic children. What an amazing facility with such loving staff. You would be a great inspiration to their efforts. God Bless! Visiting from the #SITSBlogging.
I have an autistic son as well, and I often wish I had a letter to give to people. It’s hard watching how people react to him sometimes. Big hugs.
This is a beautiful letter. I can totally understand the fear as a parent of not being able to be there to protect them always. My oldest son has several motor and verbal tics that I am 99% sure is a sign of tourettes syndrome. Right now, it doesn’t seem to be a problem at school and he has a lot of friends, but I was just telling my husband last night that I fear that as he gets older, other kids will tease him for the squeaks or jerking motions he makes. Being a parent is the best thing in the world but it can also be the hardest. Stay strong! #SITSblogging
Your letter made me cry, because I just dropped my son to his preschool and my son was enjoying interacting with classmates, a girl was looking confused to what he was saying..parents that keeps staring at him (which makes me annoyed) .
It’s everything I would love to tell the kids! Thank you for this post and good timing. I think your such an amazing woman and strong!
Big hugs and love,
Love your letter! When I was a teacher, we considered our classroom a community. We had community meetings in which the social worker and I would give the students tools to help them socially. When I had a student with special needs in my classroom, with the parents’ permission, we had a community meeting that centered around the student’s needs. This helped the other students understand why the student might act differently than them in certain situations and also things they can do to make the student more comfortable in situations. I had a student with a severe emotional disorder and other kids were picking on him at the playground, before I could intervene, students from my classroom walked over and gave those students “I messages” about how they were feeling and held hands with my student to walk him to a safer place. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Sending you hugs! -SITS love
I love this open letter to the Other Kids. I am a mom with special needs kids as well; though, mine are a bit older now, but I do understand and know that if only My kid had a chance to show who they really were, it would make a world of difference. Thanks for that. #SitsBlogging
I just had a moment at the park yesterday. My son who is 3 was playing with other boys age 7-12 . They were all running and having fun. My child was more parallel playing they asked what was wrong with him. I said nothing he just has a hard time using words but he is having fun with you. There must have been a look on my face, a mommy walked over and said that 3 of the boys he was playing with have autism and they were just curious, so I talked to them again and they were right there playing with him. Making the effort to make sure he was with them, and he knew that he was included. I got tears in my eyes. I sometimes worry so much and hope he “fits” in that I think I get in his way.. Thank you for the note it’s great!