The minute you were put into my arms…I knew we would be in it together! From an early age I saw in you what others couldn’t or wouldn’t. We knew that we would have to fight so that you could have a voice. Being a fighter is exactly who you are! You were diagnosed before you were 2 years old. Things were very different in the year 2000. Doctors were hesitant to diagnose and there were very little services for a child with autism. We (you and I) have never been the victim. Autism has never been a crutch. It is a part of the equation but it doesn’t define who you are or who I am as a Mommy. I am so proud of how hard you have worked. When other kids come home from school they could play or relax …you would start your second round of education. Sometimes 2-3 hours of intense ABA. You have done this since before you were 2 years old. Your strength is amazing. Before I was your mother I didn’t have a real purpose in life. I didn’t have a road to take. You have given me everything I need to be happy. I know that I am a better person because of you. I have never complained. The actual opposite. I feel so grateful to have you as my teacher. You are kind, sweet, smart and honest. You are also tough and self confident. You know your diagnosis and you talk about it proudly. You should be proud. Life has been harder for you than for other kids. You never complain. You have achieved the highest of goals. They said at age 2 that you would never be able to communicate and had nothing going on in your head. You have proved them wrong. You are an honor student! You have Special Olympics gold, silver and bronze medals! You have 2 jobs (with a job coach) that you are succeeding at. You are surrounded by people that love you. You are one of the most loving, kindhearted people I know. Your kindness to animals is simply beautiful. You are an angel on earth. Like I have always said, your wings are just tucked up inside. You have always wanted to see them. ?
As your Mother, I hope I have done enough to prepare you for adulthood. We have worked so hard as a team, you and I. Lots of paperwork, evaluations, SSI, Medicaid, OPWDD and CSE meetings. All that I would do 10X over for you.
One of my most proud Mommy moments this week was when you picked out your senior yearbook quote. I gave you so many choices. Some about autism…some not. You chose this….
“Different but not less” by Temple Grandin.
Could anything be more true when it comes to you?
It has been my honor to call myself your mommy for the last 18 years. I am in awe of you. We made it…you are an adult! You even voted for the first time this month. Your story is to be continued…we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next!
My name is Carrie Sandt and we live in Sound Beach, New York. I work full time as the Purchasing Agent for Miller Place Union Free School District. I am a single mother of three. My three beautiful children are Kenny (18), Nicholas (13) and Amanda (11).