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To My Son's ABA Therapist

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Dear Kate,

You met us after a long year. You came into our lives one year after our son’s autism spectrum (ASD) diagnosis. You have been with us five days a week, three to four hours a day ever since. You are an extension of our family. You have seen us at our best and our worst. You often ring the doorbell and get me answering the door at 1:00 p.m. still in pajamas because its been “one of those days.” You have been patient, you have been kind and you have walked this journey with us.

When you started, I would apologize daily for the clutter, the dishes, the way my house looked. You have every day entered with a smile and understood our family dynamic from the beginning. There are no words that would ever be enough to properly thank you for your dedication to your job, and more importantly, your dedication to my family. You showed up at his birthday party, you have come to the beach, park, zoos and museums with us. You have helped us  through this process and it has been an honor getting to know you.

It is now time to say goodbye. I hope you will think of our boy and smile and share stories of him throughout your life and career. For you, we were your job assignment, but we never felt like one. For us, you were our son’s voice when he wasn’t able to speak. You were his friend when he didn’t have one. You were his ears when he was distracted and couldn’t listen. You were my safe zone, in my bubble, in my tribe of people I trusted. Your dedication to him and us has brought us to a point where you now move on to a much deserved promotion, as well as my son moving on to not needing as much support. You have given him freedom, independence and watched him turn into the little boy he is today.

It has been four months without you, a long four months — seems like years if you ask me. We are adjusting to our new life of afternoons together without extra help. I hope you felt appreciated when you were with us, because now I look back and realize just how essential you were to all of  our son’s successes and our family’s resilience during times I wanted to break. It has been a hard transition to Kindergarten for our son, we often find ourselves saying, “I miss Kate.” I miss your ability to get our son. To instantly know what to do, say or act. His teachers and classmates haven’t quite “gotten him” yet, but we know they will.

Keep helping families. I know this is your job, your career, what you do before going home to your family. But my family would not be the same without you. You picked the right track, career wise, we hit the jackpot by getting you as our first ABA therapist.

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Getty image by KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: March 5, 2018
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