The Letter I Would’ve Written My Parents When I Had My First Meltdown

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know this came out of nowhere. We’ve had so many kids in our family who’ve gone through similar situations as part of the “terrible twos” growing up, but nothing quite like this. My sensory overload is going to be something we’ll need to constantly work on 24/7. My five senses are heightened because I’m still getting used to my surroundings. Trying to transition to this world is something that will take a lot of practice for me and patience from both of you.

I will hide under the couch when I hear lighting during a thunderstorm. My hands will constantly be up, shielding my ears to make the noises less loud. Whenever someone new tries to touch or hug me, I may run to the corner and put my hands over my eyes until that person goes away. Other times, I may run to the top of the stairs and scream, “Go away!” so I can be by myself for a little while. When we go out, I may need to wear special sunglasses to keep the sun from hurting my eyes. When I go to the amusement park, you may feel I’m out of place because I’m so scared of the rides and when I ask to eat vegetables instead of fried Oreos. 

When I have tantrums where I sink to the floor — crying out of control no matter what you try to do to soothe me — are probably the hardest on you both. No matter what sense it is, I may feel my heart racing a little bit faster than usual, and because of this, everything is heightened to a whole other level.

Some around us will say these are just tantrums. Others will say I’m just a spoiled kid who doesn’t know any better. What the world doesn’t understand, though, is that you both love me more than anyone else out there in the world, and that you two are the ones who understand me the most. You are my greatest advocates and have the inside track to help me when these meltdowns happen. I know these first years will be tough, but we’ll make it through because we are strong.

Whatever does happen, just know you’re my biggest advocates and I couldn’t do what I’m doing today in my life without you. We’ve certainly come a long way since I was diagnosed with autism at 4. Now I love all types of foods, can take the train to work every day, go to an Imagine Dragons concert and stand right next to the speakers and everything is OK.

But for now, when the next meltdown comes, don’t be discouraged if you don’t know how to help me. Sometimes it will just take time for the meltdown to pass, and as I heard you say a million times, “find my center” and calm down. You will keep me safe until that time comes. You’re always trying to figure out the miracle way to help, but just know at the end of the day, you’re already giving me that…

And that’s love.

And if another parent who is going through this with their child ever reads this letter to you, let them know someday their child may tell them how grateful they are to them.


This post originally appeared on

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Write a thank you letter to someone you realize you don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why I’m Scared for My Medically Fragile Son to Go to School

I thought I had this all figured out. This whole parenting a medically fragile child thing.  I figured out how to be pregnant with a child with an unpredictable future. The scary parts, the uncertainty — I learned to deal with it. I learned how to remain cautiously optimistic for my baby’s future and for all [...]

What My Cerebral Palsy Taught Me About Falling Down and Getting Up

It was the second time I had fallen on that square of sidewalk. A divot resembling the state of Michigan flipped sideways caught my dragging left foot. I went down hard with my arms extended and my hands receiving most of the impact. I laid there for a minute, staring down at the small cuts [...]

Why I Call Myself a ‘Special Needs Parent’

I am a special needs parent. I know people don’t like that term. I know the politically correct phrase is “I am a parent of a child with special needs.” But I’m not a typical parent. I have special needs myself due to the amount of special needs my children have. I’m not ever going [...]

What I Wish the People Who Stop and Stare at My Son Understood

My oldest son, Jeshua, is 14 and has special needs. He was born prematurely, had chronic lung disease and had a G-tube placement at the age of 1 and a half. He’s been through countless surgeries and procedures in his first few years. When he was 4, we discovered he has cerebral palsy. For years, Jeshua [...]