Your Tears Mean the World to Me

Sweet Grace.  I saw that.  You watched as Kate sat beside a little girl and the girl moved quickly away.  Likely, she was fearful of a bite or the confusing way Kate speaks.  Either way, it crushed you.  Kate didn’t notice her little friend maneuver quickly away; one of the rare perks of autism, I guess.  She wasn’t the least bit affected.  You were, though.  I saw it in the way you cast your eyes down so the little girl would not see the tears in your eyes.  I saw it in the way you stopped coloring and instead stared at your page and twirled your hair.  I saw it in the way you glanced to me to see if I saw the interaction.

I smiled at you because I wanted you to know that it was ok and because your tears made my heart burst with pride.  There was no malice in that little girl’s heart when she moved away from our Kate.  She may be unsure and afraid of how to interact with Kate.  She may have even received a bite or a pinch from our girl at one time.

This is where you and I come in, Grace.  We are going to teach people how to adore Kate as much as we do.  We are going to teach people how to understand the way Kate tells you something with her actions when she cannot produce the words.  We are going to teach people that being different can be wonderful and exciting and scary, too.  We are going to do that for Kate because of everything she has done for us.  

IMG_4634 Remember when Kate gave you her turtle, Michelangelo, when you were crying because you were afraid to get on the school bus for the first time?  Remember when Kate offered you her popcorn when you dropped your whole kids pack at the movie theatre?  Remember when you cried your little heart out because Kate sobbed when she had her first haircut?  

Do you see how tears can sometimes mean something wonderful?  The tears you shed that day made me smile, not because I wanted to see you sad, but because I can see that Kate means everything to you and that means everything to me.

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These ‘Champions of Autism’ Want You to Hear Them Roar

“I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”

In the video below,  a group of champions, brought together by the Autism Council of Utah, lip-synch those inspiring lyrics from Katy Perry’s “Roar” to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month this April.

“Autism can be a heavy diagnosis for a family to bear,” Amy Baker, of the Autism Council of Utah told The Mighty in an email, “BUT it can also bring a refreshing sense of innocence [and] open our minds as we try to look at life through their eyes and give us moments of pure joy. For every tear, frustration and worry, we need a good dose of laughter, a glimmer of hope and a fun video to put a big smile on our face!”

To get involved in the autism community, visit the Autism Society’s website.

College Basketball Player Doesn’t See His Younger Sister as ‘Different’

When Devin Oliver, a senior on the University of Dayton’s basketball team, first learned his younger sister, Miya, has Down syndrome, he knew more than ever that he’d always have to look out for her. But Miya looks out for him, too.

Even on Saturday, when Dayton lost to the University of Florida in the Elite 8, ending their season, Miya stood in the stands, cheering her brother on.

Before that game, Devin, Miya and their parents sat down with CBS Sports to talk about the incredible family bond they share. You can view that conversation below.

Dayton may have lost Saturday’s game, but the Oliver family didn’t lose anything.

Watch The Moving Moment A Woman, Deaf Her Whole Life, Hears For The First Time

Joanne Milne can finally listen to music. She can hear her friends laugh and birds chirp and the sound of her own voice.

The 40-year-old woman from Gateshead, England, was born deaf and began losing her vision in her 20s, according to the Journal. She suffers from Usher syndrome, a condition that can result in hearing and vision loss.

Last month, Milne underwent surgery to receive cochlear implants — small devices designed to help deaf people hear. In the video below, when the implants are switched on, Milne hears for the first time in her life. Her friend, Tremayne Crossley, captured the beautiful moment on film.

“I’m so happy,” Milne told the Journal. “Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends… They didn’t have to tap my arm to get my attention which is a massive leap.”

The Beautiful Message 15 People With Down Syndrome Had for a Scared Future Mom

When a soon-to-be mom learned her baby has Down syndrome, she wrote her concerns to CoorDown, Italy’s National Coordination of Associations for People with Down Syndrome.

“I’m scared,” she said in the email. “What kind of life will my child have?”

Fifteen people, all who have Down syndrome, gave her a heartwarming answer:

Why I Love My Wife

I came home one evening and our kitchen table was lined with about a dozen plants with a note attached to each. Ah, Christmas gifts for my daughter’s teachers, therapists and aides. She’s a kid with special needs and these gifts were for all the people who help fill those needs with their special talents.

Three things about these plants really pleased me.

1. I hadn’t bought presents for my family yet, let alone others. Check these off the list.

2. There was no sign of glitter. I hate glitter. I’m like a magnet for glitter. A week after a glitterfest with our kids and co-workers are still asking me if I just came from a princess party.

3. I read the card. Wow. I actually had to take a moment. I find it difficult to tell these teachers, therapists and aides – truly exceptional people who help my kid gain the courage to engage a big, scary world – how much we appreciate what they do. And more importantly, remind them how big of an impact they have on her life. There aren’t many people she knows by name.  Those she does are VIPs in our book. With this little gift, with the words on the card, with the genuine thought and feeling that went into it, my wife nailed it. She expressed our gratitude in a way they would feel.

I love my wife for so many reasons. Today it’s because she can make a $5 gift feel like a million bucks.

Christmas note, gift

The Mighty is celebrating the moments we gave or received a gift that touched our lives in a special way. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post describing this moment for you. Include a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected]Hint! Some gifts don’t come in packages.

Real People. Real Stories.

150 Million

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.