To All the People We Underestimated Throughout Our Son's Autism Journey

Since my son, TJ, was diagnosed with autism at age 2, our family has been immersed in paperwork, education plans and an entirely new language filled with terms and abbreviations that would make your head spin.

They certainly made ours.

And if it weren’t for our team leaders, we would have been lost.

The earliest team leaders laid the groundwork for us. When we were blindsided by the fact that our precious boy needed help, they held our hands and helped us out of the fog. They set up all the appointments for diagnosis. They tirelessly explained terms over and over again until they made sense. They set us up with the right people to give TJ the best chance at success.

Then we were passed to the preschool team and a new leader. She’d already been working with TJ, which made the transition seamless. That team gave TJ the most positive beginning to what it meant to go to school.

We’ve since been passed from team to team as TJ has grown. Each time we thought, “There’s no way our new team leader can replace our last one.”

Each time we were proven wrong.

So to every team leader we’ve had who made us feel like we were being heard, who worked out problems with a smile, who spent hours behind the scenes doing paperwork for our boy, we want to say a huge thank you.

To Liz, Laurie, Kristeen, Nicky, Sue, Donna, Alda and Shawn, we’re forever grateful.

Thank you for always being available and for responding to voice messages and emails so quickly.

Thank you for always saying, “There are no stupid questions.”

Thank you for reminding us that when TJ shows signs of regression, it usually means a leap forward is soon to come.

Thank you for your guidance through this crazy maze called autism.

Thank you for loving TJ and for putting up with his involved family.

Thank you for all you do. Every day. For TJ and for every child you’re giving a promising future to.

We love each and every one of you, always.

Love, Lauren and Sean, TJ and Peter

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 For all of November, The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected]

Read more from Lauren Jordan on The Mighty:
A Letter to My Son About His Big Brother With Autism
Autism and High School: What to Do When the Honeymoon Period Is Over
When I Had to Follow the Same Advice I Give My Son With Autism

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