A Letter to My Little Girl, You Are More Than Autism


My dearest Maisy,

With a genuine concern, I was recently asked: “How’s it going? Like.. how’s the autism?” (complete with sympathetic head tilt)

I so badly wanted to deliver a witty retort: “She’s great! We’re so proud of our little bundle of autism! How’s the neurotypical?”

But i didn’t. I simply responded you were doing great — and gave her a quick rundown of qualities that have nothing to do with autism, really. Being that this sweet lady had sincere intentions, I wasn’t going to dwell on the matter. But it did get me thinking about how we may be perceived by people who haven’t had the opportunity to understand our journey. Do they feel like I deserve sympathy? Because I don’t. We have our struggles and our joys. Joys that far outweigh the struggles. Do they assume you’re a shell of a human, encapsulated and thus pigeon holed by your diagnosis?

Yes, you are on the autism spectrum. Yes, that means you experience the world differently and in your own unique way. But so much more than that, you are a human. A human being full of beauty and characteristics that are all your own. You attack the world in a way that inspires me and you’re always, always up for an adventure. New places come with a lot of boundary confusion for you, causing a bit of anxiety for me, but by the third time you understand the expectations and it becomes routine.

You love your family fiercely and, although you’re not much of a conversationalist (yet), you are very social and love your friends, too. You are curious about the world and always try to figure things out on your own before asking for help. You’re a painter — and have learned to ask me to join with a most adorable “wanna paint?” Communication and engagement in two little words — some people do understand the significance and magnitude of that achievement.

You work hard and life is not always easy — sometimes it’s quite difficult — but we figure it out, together. I guess my point is this: No single occurrence or phase or characteristic or diagnosis will ever encapsulate you.

You are you — and I thank all the lucky stars for that.

Love,
Mom

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