Hi everyone I’m Susan, a new blogger to the Autism Helper team. I’ll be sharing my experiences from the parent perspective. I can’t wait to engage with you.
When my non-verbal daughter started Kindergarten one of my biggest concerns for her was, “How will she make friends and connect with her classmates?” So at that time I decided to write a letter introducing her to her classmates in a way that she would do if she was able to.
I wrote it to help explain why she isn’t in the regular education classroom with her peers for a majority of the day. I wanted them to learn about her and try to understand more not just about autism, but about her autism. I also wanted them to know her likes, favorite foods, and places she enjoys going.
I did this in hopes that they would see that there are so many similarities between them. I wanted to build a connection with her peers and their families.
The first time I sent the letter to her teacher and peers back when she started school, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I would get any response at all, but I felt confident in the letter and what our purpose was.
I wanted everyone else to get to know her even if she couldn’t express herself with words. I thought, “What would she want her peers to know about her, if she could tell them herself?”
I decided to write a letter which shared some of the things that she is currently working on. (Keep in mind this changes as she changes from year to year). I have gotten tremendous feedback from it ever since. She receives response letters from her peers. They love drawing pictures for her.
This is something that I plan on doing every year, and look forward to doing with her help. I’m able to include her now that she has a speech device and is getting better using it. It’s just such an amazing feeling when she gets a card, or a note, or a picture from a friend.
I hope this is something that others will be able to take ideas from, because it’s been such a wonderful tradition for our family.
My daughter is now in third grade. She absolutely loves going to school! She has a great relationship with her teacher and her peers and I love that I am able to be a part of it.
I love that they see her for the amazing little girl that she is, and not just a kid that is in their classroom from time to time.
I would love for other parents, caregivers, and teachers to take this idea and make it their own. I hope it adds to their child’s enjoyment of school and eases their worries. Even with typical children, building relationships with peers can seem daunting. I really believe it helps everyone to see that even though they’re different in many ways, they really do have a lot in common.