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My Christmas List to Santa as an Autistic Adult and Therapist

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Dear Santa,

You may find that my Christmas list is a little different this year. I’m an adult with autism as well as a therapist. I work with children on different levels of the spectrum. This year, I’m only asking for a few things — the first and most important thing being understanding for those who are different.

Second, I want you to know that many of the young friends I work with have some verbal limitations, and some can’t speak at all. Their families love them very much, and they tell them that all the time. Sometimes my friends get upset for reasons others may not be able to figure out. They cry, but they don’t have a way to indicate what’s wrong or what made them sad in the first place.

Third, I want to have meaningful friendships with my peers, and I want that for my clients as well. As autistic people, we often behave in ways others don’t understand, and therefore, that can make our peers reluctant to interact with us. It’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life, but it absolutely breaks my heart when I see it happen to my young clients.

Lastly, I want to know that when my clients get to be my age, they’ll be able to experience the same kind of acceptance in their careers that I have. I want to know they’ll always be accepted and valued in their families and communities.

I often worry about my clients and their lives as they grow older. I hope I can teach them as much as I can in the time I’m given with them. I hope they never feel excluded and that they always have a meaningful form of communication, no matter what that is for that individual.

Kaelynn Partlow

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 5, 2016
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