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.


We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image by ilkercelik

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

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

My Son's Meltdowns Have a Reason

My 8-year-old with autism is able to keep it together at school. He rarely has a meltdown. However, at home it is a different story. It is always in the back of my mind to try to prevent him from being overwhelmed. This includes making schedules and sticking to them. If I say we are [...]
Dancing at a party.

A Little Understanding Goes a Long Way for Me as a Young Woman With Autism

The music could be heard from the outside of the building, the lights were multicolored and flashing and the crowd was huge and full of life. Shortly after walking in, I turned to my friend and said, “this whole place smells like fleeting comfort zones.” She agreed with me and laughed, because she knew exactly what [...]

8 Positive Aspects of My Child Having Autism

For too long, diagnostics for autism and ASD have focused only on the “deficits” associated with autism. This creates a negative picture of individuals on the spectrum. So let’s take a minute to point out and appreciate the positive aspects of autism: 1. Has expertise in area(s) of special interest. We have been labeling individual’s [...]
Elizabeth standing on a balcony watching people below.

My Journey to Self-Love as a Woman on the Autism Spectrum

they are on a separate plane, in a separate reality that is visible to me but only just. the film that divides us is suffocating. still, the glow of their bodies burns through me like jealousy; makes wonder if they are more permanent than i am. I wrote this poem as a senior in high [...]