Dear Mom and Dad,
Throughout my life, you’ve done so much for me. You’ve supported me, helped me and pushed me to be the best version of myself. For this, I thank you.
When I struggled with learning how to do things as a young child, you were always there to show me how. Whenever I’ve come across a problem, you’ve always given me the best advice on how to tackle it.
Looking back as an undiagnosed autistic, there are a couple things I wish had been different. I wish you’d understood why I wasn’t like my peers, and that I didn’t have to be because everyone develops at their own rate and that’s OK. I’m developmentally young for my age, and in my earlier years, I wish I’d had the freedom to be me. It felt unnatural to me to act as someone I was not.
I wish you’d known that I take a little longer to process things. That rather than becoming angry or impatient with me, you’d have given me the time I needed to process instructions. That you’d have clarified them for me when I needed it.
These are the only two things that really stand out — the things I wish could have been handled differently. There are a lot of things I have you to thank for so I want to get back to what I feel you’ve done right.
When I first suspected I was autistic, you had your initial reservations. You thought there was nothing “wrong” with me (when after all, autism isn’t a defect, but rather a different operating system). However, you were willing to listen. The more I researched, the more I saw traits in myself. You began to understand as I shared with you about autism and how it related to me.
Finally, when the time came to complete questionnaires for my assessment, you were there. You completed them to the best of your knowledge, about what I was like early on as well as in the present. After having submitted them to my psychologist and going through a series of interview-style appointments, I had my answer. I was indeed autistic. You helped me find the answers I so desperately sought.
While I may have been a bit misunderstood in my early life, you stuck by my side. You may not have known why I was a little different from my peers, yet you still encouraged me to succeed. To this day, you always help me when I need it. You now realize that I’m taking life at my own pace, and you let me live it on my terms – not society’s. You no longer push me to act differently from how I feel – you let me be me. When I’m confused or misunderstand instructions, you don’t become frustrated with me, but rather recognize I just need time to process.
What you might not realize is that these things are huge to me. I can’t express enough how thankful I am that you’ve taken the time to understand me. I can be myself and not feel like I’m doing anything wrong. I can be true to myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock image by lolostock