This is a note that captures a conversation between a mother and her 7-year-old daughter, Cadence, who has autism. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming – and above all else, it’s a good reminder that we, particularly us adults, need to recognize that our words and actions can have a tremendous impact on our children. It was overhearing other adult discussions among parents and listening to the news that led Cadence to believe she was “bad” for having autism. As Cadence’s mom, Angela, shared in her message on “I am Cadence”
What ‘messages’ are children hearing—from ourselves, from other parents, at school, from media and in the general community? And what are the ‘take home’ learnings, spoken or unspoken, they are internalizing from these messages?
Cadence expressed what many children may be feeling, but unable to say, so let her words spread far and wide so we all may be more compassionate and respectful.
Lynsey, Community Manager
The child birthday party invitation. It’s a little piece of paper in the mail – or an email to be opened – but it can be an immediate stress inducer. Stress was likely the feeling Tricia Rhynold would have when she opened invites from her son’s classmates. Tricia – mom to seven-year-old Timothy who has nonverbal autism – explains that they’ve received tons of invites over the years, which she appreciates, but she understandably wonders, “if the parents know what would happen if I brought Timothy? The interruptions…the meltdowns…how I would hate to take the spotlight from the birthday child.” So, she would respectfully decline every invite.
But that all changed with one simple note. Tricia received a party invite with a note from a mom of a child (Carter) in Timothy’s class – and she made it very clear that she truly wanted Timothy to come to the birthday party writing:
Carter sat beside Timothy at school and he always talks about him I really hope he can come. We are renting a bounce castle that we can attach a small bounce slide at the bottom. We will also have water balloons and water guns. Maybe Timothy can come earlier in the day if it would be too much with the whole class. Let me know so we can make it work.
There are a lot of amazing people in this world who are kind and understanding – we hope you’ve got some of them in your life. It’s hard to remember that kindness sometimes when you’re overwhelmed or maybe feeling a little stuck. In Tricia’s case, it took someone else – a complete stranger – to extend an offer with Timothy’s needs in mind that would make all the difference. As Tricia said on her blog, The Book of Timothy, “I don’t know this Mom or even this child personally. I want to. Desperately….The Mom is everything I strive to be.” Agree.
Lynsey, Community Manager