A Letter from Mummy to Richard
I wish I had a crystal ball all those years ago when all the doctors told me time and again what you will never be able to do. My heart swells with pride and emotion as I see the young man who stands before me today.
They said you would never talk, but look at you now; you speak so confidently on stage at conferences and schools. You publicly advocate for yourself and your peers, while inspiring, educating and entertaining your audience.
They said you would never walk, yet you represent Sydney East in Special Olympics basketball and your goal is to make the state team. Who could have guessed that your favourite past-time would be running on the beach at night?
They said you would never make it through school, yet despite all the challenges, such as the bullying and learning difficulties you graduated high school with your HSC. For us, your family, that graduation night was surreal; for many this may not be such a big deal, but for us it meant the world!
They said you would always have trouble self-regulating but you were a groomsman at your sister’s wedding just last week and you made it through the demands of the entire day alongside the groom and even delivered one of the best speeches of the night.
You have a caring and empathetic heart and it is your dream to work with children. I am not surprised that slowly this dream is being realized through your advocacy work in schools. You still need support and that’s ok, you have good days and you have bad days, but don’t we all?
Every day you teach me to be a better person.
You are not only my son, you are also my teacher and my hero. I have seen you face and overcome challenges that many of us will never have to face. Every day you inspire and challenge me to become a better person. I see the world in a totally different light now because of you, and for this I thank you. You have taught me the meaning of patience, understanding, acceptance, and honour. You teach me every day how to love unconditionally. How? By example, because that’s the only way you know.
Autism is challenging, and I used to ask God why He allowed this to happen to you. I now thank God with all of my heart for bestowing on our family such a precious gift, it is an honour to be your mother. I actually cannot imagine life without you being just the way you are, with your quirkiness, your humour, and your literal interpretation of everything.
I would not change you for the world, but it is my mission to change the world for you, so that others may see your inner beauty, so they can look past what you can’t do and instead see what you can do. Keep dreaming Richard and reach for the stars, I will always be by your side cheering you on.