Today I read a wonderful letter. It was too perfect, so I wanted to repost it here. It moved me to tears and into the ugly cry. I pray that all of Ethan's teachers see him for the gift he is and not only as his diagnosis.
This was written by Sheila who is a teacher & also blogs at Sprinkle Teaching Magic. View her original post here.
Dear Child With Autism-
You brighten each
and every day. You may not know this but I look forward to school because of
you. I know school is hard. Every day I see the worry on your face. School
goes quickly. Daily changes throw you off-course. You worry. About yourself.
You cry because you have no friends. No one invites you to their birthday
party. You worry about the weather. In a drought, will the animals suffer? You
I don’t even mind
that you blurt out. I walk in your shoes. The idea explodes to the surface and
you can’t contain it any longer. I am patient and smile. We will work on
this. At least you have interest. At least you participate. At least you are
taking a risk.
You have talents
and wisdom far beyond your years. I don’t think you realize this. That is my
job. You have enthusiasm for science, word play in poetry, and mythical
creatures. I can’t teach creativity and passion. You got it. Others may brush
you off. There he goes again. I smile. You were given a window into this world
that not a lot of us have. You have the power to get so wrapped up in what
interests you the rest of the world disappears.
day students see how special you are to me. I model how to treat you with
respect and dignity. I model how to talk to and appreciate you. Your
classmates observe and follow my lead. The classroom wouldn’t be the same
without you. There would be a void. Too quiet. Too blah. We need you in our
patchwork. I see your classmates look out for you. I see protectiveness grow.
We are a unit and team. We have your back.
You have your
days when the tears come fast. When you blink rapidly and try to stand strong.
These are the days when you have missed the social cues. Social cues. Little
things we take for granted that are land mines for you. I assure you. I remind
you of powerful affirmations you can repeat. Take deep breaths. I listen and
help you to navigate the confusion. I try to provide the best Cliff Notes I can
so that in the future, an encounter with your peer may come easier.
Thank you for
your honesty. Your bluntness. Thank you for coloring outside the metaphorical
lines. Thank you for being in my class. My heart has grown so fond of you.
You push me to be a better and more patient teacher. You push me to develop new
and innovative ways to meet your needs. You make me laugh. There are times
when you say things and I shouldn’t laugh. But I can’t hold it in. You make me
laugh so hard that it echoes off the walls of our classroom and fills the hearts
of all my students. My mission every day is to make you smile. You approach
life with a furrowed brow and seriousness. I make little silly sounds and shoot
funny faces just for you to see. I send you a wink. If I am lucky, for a brief
moment, I see the glimmer in your eye. Maybe we have
I am your
teacher, and I will fight for you every day. I just see you. Thank you for