The Letter That Changed It All

Categories: Parent Perspective

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.

Susan Bitler
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8 Comments

  1. This is such a great idea that opens the door for many social opportunities!

    Reply
    • Thank you! I love that other kids like Ady will be able to use it and make connections.

      Reply
  2. Beautiful idea! So happy to hear that she is loving school (and yay for riding horses!). Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I look forward to sharing more with everyone.

      Reply
  3. Hi Susan!!! What a wonderful idea!! I plan to do this next year for my daughter, Collette. She is 7 and non-verbal like Ady! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Reply
    • Thank you Nicole! I’m so glad that you like it. That’s wonderful that you plan on making a letter for your daughter Collette. I hope she enjoys seeing the responses from her peers as much as Ady does. Take care!

      Reply
  4. This is amazing! Can’t love it enough 😉

    Reply

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