Here’s an excerpt from my Mom’s Christmas letter:
“Also for the past two years, we have gone to City once a week with Nathan as he has ben diagnosed as Autistic and needed speech therapy. With his parents working full time, and us not, we volunteered to help. Nathan is in Kindergarten & is advancing quite well. His Autism is not severe, for which we feel thankful. He has trouble with his speech and some motor skills and his attention is sporadic. Trevor was his aid at Nursery School for two years and Nathan has a new aide at Kindergarten and he loves school and his teachers. The school system is so much better for special needs kids nowadays. Michelle knew before 18 months of age that Nathan had problems and had to fight for recognition and help.
It was due to her efforts that Nathan has progressed as well as he has. She would not let it rest. She researched so much. The family learned baby sign language, which was the most tremendous thing I have ever seen done with small children – to give them a voice – when they don’t have one! Nathan is a very loving child, but somewhat shy, he has trouble meeting your eyes, and he doesn’t like loud noises or the dark – but school is changing that! He is even learning to play with children, instead of just beside them. Thankfully, he is a happy child and likes ot share and is very bright. (Grandma’s brag) He has quite a memory and can put together puzzles – has for a long time.”
So, on the on hand, I am very touched and humbled that my mom thinks I’m the reason Nathan has done as well as he has.
On the other hand, I wish that I had mentioned the diagnosis in my own Christmas letter. I just didn’t want to talk about it, it always seems like such a downer & I write a very upbeat, rhyming couplet-style letter. Mostly, I just didn’t want to try to explain what Autism is in 30 words or less. (Besides, nothing decent rhymes with Autism, diagnosis or banging your head against the wall – me, not Nathan)
What do you think? Was I a total wimp & should have owned the diagnosis in my own Christmas letter? Did I miss a chance to advocate & educate? What would you have done?