Giving Thanks


Today, I want to give thanks.

This fall has been a whirlwind of transitions for our family – mostly centering around a move to a new school. For families like ours, this means a whole new support team in addition to new teachers, new building, new schedule. New, new, new…

When you live with autism, new isn’t shiny and it’s rarely welcome. So we did what we could to prepare our son for this upheaval, and while we’ve come out the other side, I find myself still reeling. I’m just not sure we did enough, and I’m equally unsure if we’re in a good place. What I am sure about is how incredibly thankful I am for the place we used to be.

This isn’t the first time we’ve changed schools and teams and while each transition has been bumpy I can say whole heartedly that our teachers have been spectacular. And it’s those people that I want to thank.

I never worried, not once, leaving my child in their care. I knew they had his back and mine. I knew their affection for him was genuine. He wasn’t just another student to them. He was singular. Himself. He was seen and cared for.

So thanks to his principal who always chose the right teacher for him. And thanks to his PE guru whose patience and optimism translated into a love of running. Thanks to his classroom teachers whose acceptance brought out so many ways for him to shine. And thanks to the support staff who found ways to connect through the chaos of autism at school.

Thank you doesn’t begin to communicate my gratitude to his case manager, who always responded to my ideas with “We can do that!” and his speech and occupational therapists who creatively moved him into more functional, calmer spaces.

Finally, his mentor – the first teacher to recognize his extraordinary gifts – who nurtured them and used them to instill a life-long love of learning. Without her year-after-year care, he wouldn’t sparkle nearly as brightly.

It is their tireless work, endless ideas and thoughtful interventions that have made this newest transition a possibility for my son. It is the foundation they helped us build that keeps him steady as he moves forward, leaving behind outgrown places.

Immersed in this new landscape, populated with strangers, is scary. I can’t help looking back and missing our old community and the way in which each one brought out the best in our child with autism. It is within this contrast that I find my gratitude, which I thought was huge, has grown.

So thanks again to the educators who truly care, who nurture the unique minds of our children and welcome parents as equal partners in this journey. Your care makes all the difference in our daily lives and to the futures of our children.

Author: Shannon

Shannon parents a son on the spectrum, lives in MN and writes to stay sane. She is passionate about connecting families to the services that will transform their lives. Read her full bio here.


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