What Do You Think?

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?

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4 thoughts on “What Do You Think?

  1. I see nothing wrong with what you did. It’s very personal. If your mom is able to write about it sooner, that’s fine. And I think it makes sense since she’s a little more removed from the situation and it is being introduced in relation to how she spends her time. When and if you are ready, you’ll talk about it with everyone more.

  2. Since you educate and advocate already on your blog, you’re off the hook on the Christmas letter if you want to be. And Grandma seemed to do a fine job in her letter–so it’s a win-win.

  3. I’m all about getting the word out. But, you do a fantastic job of that with your blog. Between that and your mom’s letter…I’d say the word is out. Don’t feel bad about omitting autism from your letter. Upbeat is good too. 🙂

  4. I have struggled with some of these same issues. While my son has not been diagnosed with autism, he exhibits many autistic characteristics, and I am sure many experts would put him on the spectrum. Still, I sometimes struggle with how much information I should share with others regarding his SPD, speech delays, etc.

    Personally, what I have come up with is that I share on my blog and I share with people when I feel I can trust them or when they need to know. I myself don’t think I would feel totally comfortable sharing in a Christmas letter (though I admire how your mom did it). I think I just feel more comfortable talking to people about it in person, and some people just don’t need to know. I worry I am being a coward, but at the same time, it is difficult because I don’t want people who rarely see my son to decide what he is like just because of his labels. I don’t know if that makes sense.

    I guess all I am saying is that everyone is different and we have to deal with these things in our own way and time. These are issues that are difficult to sum up in a mass letter.

    I feel exactly the same way. I just didn’t know how to say it. Thank-you for giving me the words.

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