A Tribute to Our Children on the Autism Spectrum

“As a Son-Rise Program Senior teacher at the Autism Treatment Center of America®, I have had the precious honor of being able to spend time with over 700 children and adults on the autism spectrum. This has been the greatest gift of my life. For Autism Acceptance month, I wanted to share some snippets of my journey. This is what autism acceptance means to me.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Laying under my own blanket, alongside you, under your blanket. I’ll gladly watch the dust dance in the light without needing anything more to happen. Each speck of dust is golden, just like this moment.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Learning all the names, and facts about the native birds of Hawaii, so we can talk about them together, because I know how much you love talking about them, and I so love talking with you.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Feeling grateful to be in your presence when you are crying, banging your head, hitting, and throwing things. Thank you for allowing me to support you through these times.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Dressing up like an elephant, at 45 years old, because elephants are your favorite thing in the world. Now elephants are one of my favorite things in the world.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Seeking to understand your world, what does my reflection look like in this spoon? How does it feel to press my nose flat against this cool floor? What’s it like to say ‘eeeeeeeee’ over and over again for 40 minutes straight? It’s magical, is what it is.

“Autism acceptance to me is… Being in silence together. Knowing that even when there are no words, we can both feel connected and complete in each other’s presence.

“What does Autism Acceptance mean to you?”

Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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