I am autistic. For a while, I worked in Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services. I naively believed I could make a difference from the inside. It has taken me nearly 7 months to heal from the toxicity of those organizations and be ready to take on the systemic abuses once more. These are the words I never got to tell my clients.
Tiff. You are fantastic. I want to play angry birds with you all day.
You light up every space you enter. I'm sorry I couldn't talk your mom
out of doing Autism Speaks walks for you, not vaccinating you, and
keeping you on the restrictive GFCF diet that was making you sick. I'm
sorry that the organization wanted to teach you not to stim. I want so
badly to fight for you. Every time I drive past the farm near your
house, I think of bringing your mom proof, even though I know she
wouldn't hear it. You are a ray of sunshine. I miss your squeals.
LJ, they told me that you were possibly a case of childhood onset
schizophrenia, but you are autistic like me, and like your brother. I am
sorry the Behavioral Specialist picked you up when you were touch
defensive. I know how bad that can hurt. You are special. Please don't
listen to the mean words your mom calls you. You are so smart. I love
your language, and I'm so glad you taught it to me.
Larry, I'm sorry I scared you. I wish you could show me your Lego
collection. I would love to play with you. Someday, they won't be able
to take things away from you when you don't do what they say. Please
hold on to that. I admire you for your stubbornness and resolve. I wish I
was more like you when I was a kid.
Nick, kiddo. I wanna build bridges and play ponies with you again. You
remind me so much of myself. You never needed me. I was there to tell
your mom that you would be just fine. Because you will be. Starting
school this fall might be rough at first, but you've got a great big
sister to protect you. I'm sure she will.
To all of the kids I worked with, and to the kids I never got the
opportunity to meet: I will keep working for you. I want the system to
treat you fairly and to teach you how to cope, rather than teaching you
how to be easily coped with. I'm sorry I couldn't do that from the
inside. I can't promise it will get better soon, but I can promise that
there are people fighting for you.