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To the Therapists Who Work With My Son on the Autism Spectrum

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I bet when you have a name on your schedule letting you know you have a new evaluation, you have no idea how much you’re really going to help.

Sure, you probably know about your profession, and are likely skilled at the type of therapy you provide. But do you know how much else you help? Do you know that you are sometimes the only people I can talk to about what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, and what my son’s behaviors have really been like? Do you know that sometimes you’re the only one who believes the things I say have been going on with my kids? Do you know that sometimes I feel like you are the only other people who get my child, besides me? When we are here with you, we feel seen, valued, appreciated, taken seriously; like we are part of the team and not doing this alone. Do you know what that means to families who are raising a child with a disability?

It means the world, in case you didn’t realize.

Do you know that sometimes you give me the words I don’t even know how to put together to make sense out of what we’re going through? Do you know that you refresh our hope? I have a feeling that you got into your field because you might think you understand all this. I thought I understood it too, before my son was diagnosed with autism, being myself a physical therapist.

However, I suspect you may not understand the magnitude at which you help us. In case you didn’t realize, and even if you do, I want say thank you.

Thank you for seeing what my son can be capable of even before he’s even close to mastering the skill.

Thank you for listening to the real answer when you ask, “How has the week been for you guys?”

Thank you for coming up with endless ideas and tips to make our struggles easier in every practical area of our lives.

Thank you for genuinely caring above and beyond what your job would require.

Thank you, because I can see the way my son touches your life in your smile and in your enthusiasm over his accomplishments.

Thank you for never being intimidated by his wildest, angriest meltdown.

Thank you for making sense with him when he doesn’t have the speech for what he wants.

Thank you for pushing him in a firm but gentle way to reach milestones we thought might never come.

Thank you for teaching me when and how to push him much more effectively.

Maybe you’ve heard “thank you” before, and maybe you thought you knew why people said it. Just in case you didn’t understand the capacity of how much you actually help, I want you to know.

Thank you for walking this journey with us.

Thank you for helping both my son and me to overcome some very significant battles, some that other people don’t even understand we face.

Thank you for not letting us do this alone.

Thank you for not letting us get stuck in pity or defeat.

Thank you for seeing us through the highs and the lows.

Thank you for being consistent and persevering for us.

Thank you for helping us find our courage.

And thank you for being the magnificent unseen heroes that you are.

Originally published: September 10, 2018
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