28 Sep Exactly What We Need to Hear (and Know) – A Parents View
When my son was diagnosed with autism I felt like our life was over. Having worked in the field as a behaviour interventionist many years ago, I could not see how the therapies I was aware of could serve my child. In my eyes, my child was perfect the way he was and I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of shaping his behaviour to look like a ‘typical’ child. Quite frankly, I didn’t want a typical child, I wanted my child but the thought that others wouldn’t accept him in this world made me feel like I had no option other than to take him out of it.
I was feeling severely depressed and hopeless the day I (reluctantly) landed in an autism demystification workshop at Friend 2 Friend. During the meeting Heather McCracken addressed me directly and said, “there’s nothing wrong with your son, your son is fine, and by the way nobody ever stops developing.” These words were so powerful and unlike anything I’d heard about autism up to this point. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it changed the course my life. After that meeting, I unexpectedly had hope that my son could be accepted in this world.
Friend 2 Friend allows for the unconventional yet wonderful qualities of people on the autism spectrum to shine. My son looks forward to play group like no other activity I have ever put him in, I believe, because he can be himself and play with other kids. My son has always loved to play with other children but can find it frustrating without proper support because he struggles to keep up. The workers at Friend 2 Friend skillfully offer my son just enough support so that he is able to play and have fun with his peers without feeling singled out. His ‘typically developing’ peers are also having fun and learning ways to be inclusive which is a life skill any parent should want for their child. It is the only place where I confidently drop off my child. To date, he is as happy if not more when I come to pick him up.
I am so grateful for the climate of acceptance that exists at Friend 2 Friend. – -Parent