I will never forget the moment my child was diagnosed, I started to cry, but not because I was upset that the doctor had agreed with my suspicions. I cried out of relief that someone finally saw what I saw, that someone finally believed me. Up to that point I had been on my own. After eighteen long and torturous months and an incredible twelve different medical professionals, finally, one doctor had the courage to agree with a mother’s intuition.
What I did not know then was the events of December 4, 1995 would alter the course of my life. My path from that moment forward would be a journey with one goal – to ensure that my child and in fact all three of my children would know that they are accepted, understood and loved for who they are, within their family, within their community and most importantly within their peer groups.
Fast forward 21 years, I am writing this blog during take 12, filming our latest Autism Demystification Puppet Program entitled, “You Don’t Know, Jack!”. I watch with gratitude as the never wavering guides repeatedly preform the puppet play for the cameras. Watching them bring to life my life’s work is a humbling experience that reminds of the importance of understanding, acceptance, empathy and friendships for children with autism. For me, this intensifies the knowledge that for many children with autism, their peers and families, engaging in meaningful peer social opportunities would simply not exist without the help of Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society.
The road we travel in the world of autism is long, winding and amazing ride that can be filled with the joy of acceptance, understanding, empathy and friendships for our children and for ourselves. As Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society enters its 15th year of service delivery, it is my hope that the Friend 2 Friend programs have helped, and will continue to help make the road a bit smoother for many individuals on the autism spectrum.
“There is a path from me to you that I am constantly looking for.” Rumi
Heather McCracken 爱童
Thank you: Jennifer, Michelle, Katie, Jenn and Lucy for your support with the development, delivery and filming of “You Don’t Know, Jack!”