THE APOLOGY I OWE MY SON WITH AUTISM BY ERIN POLK

 

Dear Kreed,

How many months have we stared at your sweet face begging you to tell us what’s wrong? How many days have we wiped away your tears when the pain and frustration is too much? How many years have gone by since you’ve been locked up inside? I stare at you in wonderment now. Communicating. Telling us your thoughts word by word, phrase by phrase.

I can remember laying in front of you begging for you to tell me what’s wrong. Begging you to let me help you. I’m sorry I didn’t know what was wrong. We had to decode your behavior and had less clues to work with than on “Medical Mysteries.” How we wished you could have some words, any words, some way to tell us.

Instead you told us through your anger, your fear and your sadness. You told us through the wounds on your hands, the bang of your head, the pounding of your feet and the tears you would cry. Your silence has been deafening. Your voice lost.

Here you are today, telling me you don’t feel well. Your head hurts. Telling me you’re sad when you remember things in the past. Telling me you’re excited when you do something fun. Turning to a peer and asking her if she’s seen the movies you like. Requesting anything and everything you want. Finally knowing some of your favorite songs. You’ve found your voice. Maybe not in the way we thought or used to want, but we hear you loud and clear now, buddy.

No more silence. No more waiting to hear your thoughts. No more wondering if we will ever know what’s inside of you. You never have to go unheard again. We can hear your voice. And it’s sweet and sensitive and funny. Priceless.

I’m sorry for all the times we’ve failed you, talked about you in front of you like you weren’t there or ignored a communication attempt. I’m sorry it took so long to give you a voice. I’m sorry it took so long to give you a choice in everything. And I’m sorry I didn’t take your device everywhere sooner — you deserve to have a voice no matter where you are, not just when it’s convenient for me.

I’m sorry for not understanding sooner. I’m sorry so many people hurt you in your life and didn’t understand you. I’m sorry some people still don’t understand you and probably never will. I’m sorry for anyone who has ever treated you like you were less, and I’m sorry when I can’t protect you from the people who make you feel that way. I will always fight for you and fight for your voice.

I love hearing your thoughts and your voice. I’m sorry when I get mad and frustrated when you have trouble understanding why you can’t have everything. It’s been a long road to get to here. I will continue to walk beside you and help you and lead you anywhere you want to go. I’m sorry for when I will let you down in the future or lose my cool, but I promise I will make it up to you and try harder. I promise to hear your voice no matter what, no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing. I promise I won’t let anyone silence you again. We hear you now and will never let that voice go silent again.

We love you for all you are and for who you are going to be. We love you through the silence, through the tears and pain and through your successes and happiness.

I hope at the end of all of this, you will know how far my love goes. Here’s to you, dear sweet Kreed, who has finally found your voice and it is beautiful.

– Culled from http://www.themighty.com

*Erin Polk has a Master’s Degree in Education and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She raises a 17 year old with autism, Kreed, who is nonverbal, but uses an AAC device to communicate. Her passion besides raising Kreed is helping other nonverbal teens and adults communicate and empower parents to learn to help their children communicate. and continue learning long past early intervention. Erin Polk is not a staff of CDC.

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