I’ve been working with kids on the spectrum for the last 7 or so years, the better part of my adulthood. I’ve worked with the most vocal (sometimes taking deep breaths after answering the same question 47 times), to kids with no communication system at all.
I’ve always done my best to give them language. Parents and educators (including myself) feeling hopeless after rages of aggression or hours of crying, I’ve learned both professionally and personally in the past year the power of words.
My papa, my daddy has been struggling with brain cancer the last few months. Recently, it has taken away most of his speech. Yesterday, as I sat next to his hospital bed, he was squeezing my hand with all the strength he had left and trying so hard to get words out. After trying for long moments and only able to get one word of so many thoughts, he squeezed my hand tighter and silently cried.
When I was about to leave, I kissed him and said, love you. He looked me in the eyes and said back, clear as ever, love you.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for giving us small moments of hope in the midst of helpless.
Parents, educators, my sweet students, I see your thoughts. I feel your frustration, I promise to do my best to keep giving you language. I’m not mad when you hit me, because I know sometimes it’s the only way you can scream out to someone you trust, “I need something.” I’ve been working on that one word for months.
The moments you spontaneously ask for bathroom or say my name out loud, my eyes well up. I know how hard you worked for that word.
Parents, your babies love you.