Letters from my daughter’s therapists

I recently read a piece entitled “To My Son’s Autism Therapists.” I can relate well to the writer’s words: she wants to convey to her son’s therapists how very personal their work is to her. How day and night she grapples with worry, fear, exhaustion and hope… and much of that hope lies within their hands.

I gather that the writer’s child is young. I want to tell her, “Hold on! If your experience is anything like ours, your child will lead you to discover a special class of people you did not know existed. You will find teachers and therapists who care so much and teach so well that your son’s gains, challenges and well-being become deeply personal to them. You will find people whose compassion, commitment, creativity, and belief in your child’s ability to excel never fails.”

One mom wrote a letter to her son’s therapists. This mom (as in me) has cherished letters written by therapists and teachers to us. Honestly, there was a time I did not know how a child who lacked language and social skills and needed one-on-one support with every part of her day could have rich, meaningful relationships. But now I know: she is a gift to others, and her teachers have shown me that again and again. She is loved. I am very grateful that my girl is surrounded by people who not only teach her, but treasure her, just as she is.

A sample:

From A-

Dear Rhema, Over the past four years I have spent a lot of time learning, playing and laughing with you. You have come so far, I am so proud of you! I am so grateful for all of the joy you have given me. I know that with all of the wonderful memories we have made together, I will absolutely never forget you. Keep up the incredible work, Rhema girl.

From S-

As you know, Rhema and I love to color together at school every day. She’ll pull my hand in and have me write words for her to copy. I do everything from mom, dad, Hope, and more, but sometimes I write her teachers names (including my own). The other day during one of our coloring sessions, she scribbled [my name] across one of her papers, and it didn’t even matter that the letters were in a different order. …Rhema and I, we just connect and she is so important to me. I just wanted to share this with you because it meant the world to me that she wrote it on her own and I feel unbelievably lucky to get to work with her every day.

From A. M.-

It is hard to find an appropriate time to say it with the rush that is the morning and afternoon drop off/pick up routine, but I am so proud of your Rhema every day. I see her eyes get wide with understanding, I hear her try new words, and watch as she follows a new direction for the first time with the same accuracy as if she had done it a million times before. I can’t believe how much she has grown these last few years and I am so thankful to be a part of her learning and growing. Thank you.

From H-

Whenever I am asked why I love being an OT I always talk about teaching Rhema to write her name. I keep the letters at my desk to remind myself why I do what I do and how rewarding and lucky I am to get to work with these kids. Everyday it reminds me to do my best and that little miracles happen everyday. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your children’s lives. They are both amazing little girls who are going to have positive influences in many lives. They already have both taught me so much!

From C-

Rhema was taking a break at her desk, and I was tearing pages out of a coloring book for her to color one by one. I handed her a word search which she instantly scribbled all over and held up to give back to me. But then, something caught her eye and she began to trace letters.

When she handed me back the paper, ready for a new one, I saw that she had somehow, in the middle of the word search and among the scribbles and scrambled letters, found and traced the word “teamwork.” There were no other letters traced in the word search, and no letters missed from the word.

I was amazed! And I still am. Of all the other combinations of letters she could have traced, she not only found a word, but she found the one that best sums up my experience as one of her teachers. Teamwork.

Everyone all together, for Rhema.

IMG_0493mod2

Picture on the wall at school.

{The walls of a special education school are decked with large photos of the students. Near the front door is a picture of Rhema taken a few years ago. Every time I walk into school one of the first things I see is her picture and it speaks volumes to me. It tells me that she belongs, that her teachers are there for her, and she and her fellow students are an inspiration them. It tells me that no matter what kind of day she’s having, she is treasured and celebrated every day. And really, what more could I want?}

My letter to her teachers and therapists boils down to simple words that can never tell it all: THANK YOU.

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2 thoughts on “Letters from my daughter’s therapists

  1. I’ve never gotten a personal note like this from any of my kids teachers. I think I’d turn into a giant puddle of tears and snot if I ever did. It’s great that they take the time to share these thoughts with you. It means so much to special needs parents to hear other people talk about our kids in glowing ways.

  2. Ditto what jay train said. However, at IEP meetings, I see the love.

    So wonderful to know that our kids are appreciated and loved!

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