A Mother’s Letter to Her Autistic Teenager – Finding Cooper’s Voice

I like to write you these little notes so that one day, when I’m old and gray, and my memory isn’t so good, I can remember you. Your life. And us.

You are 13. You are a teenager.

When you were diagnosed with autism all those years ago, and the future felt confusing, maybe even a little bit scary, I would wonder what you would be like at this age.

Because the teenage years can be interesting. And autism, well it muddles the edges. There are no ‘what to expect at this age’ books written for you.

And in a way…there is so much beauty in that. See you get to write your own.

Last night I asked you to come sit by the fire with us but you were far too busy. And mom and dad are a little boring. There’s my teenager.

But instead of playing video games you are watching multiple iPads. One with the history of the great American railway. And the other with Dora the Explorer. It’s a fascinating combination.

An old soul and a fresh one mixed together.

You have six blankets.

You dressed yourself today.

You held my hand when we walked up the driveway today.

You used your speech device to tell me you were frustrated this morning by your brother.

I wiped your mouth. I put your shoes on the right feet.

You asked your brother and his friend to swim with you.

You will be in bed by 8:30 and not a second later.

A beautiful combination of so many things.

And just moments ago, you sat outside on the driveway and watched the neighborhood kids play baseball. Never joining in. Perfectly content to watch.

It’s amazing kid. The way you move between two worlds.

The way you live so fearlessly. The way you are growing up before my eyes.

The way you lead me into these next phases of your life. And gently remind me that it’s ok. It’s ok to be different. It’s amazing really.

You are waiting for Dora to call you on the phone. You’ve reminded me 126 times tonight. And each time I smile. Because you asking me for things was a dream of mine for so long.

Love, mom

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.


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