The last thing I want for you guys to know is that people with autism are a lot more like you than they are different from you.
If Daniel could talk, I think these are the ways he would tell you that he is like you.
I think he would say:
Hey guys, I really love to swim. I would swim every day if my mom would let me.
And I love waterslides, especially the really fast ones.
I also love rollercoasters. I love to go to Six Flags and ride all the scary rollercoasters, even the Shock Wave and the Titan. I love it when the rollercoasters go really fast and when they make me go upside down.
I love pizza and popsicles and popcorn. But my absolute favorite food is cupcakes and my favorite candies are Sour Patch Kids and peppermints.
I love to climb, and I love to watch the otters at the zoo.
I love to go to football, basketball and baseball games and I love watching videos on my I-pad.
I think that Daniel would tell you that he really likes going to school and that he is paying a lot more attention to you all than you realize.
And here is what I would tell you about Daniel, as his mom:
Daniel loves people more than anybody I know. He loves people very deeply. He doesn’t care what kind of clothes you are wearing, or whether you passed your spelling test. He doesn’t care about any of the things that don’t really matter. He just loves people who are nice to him.
And Daniel is also the bravest person I have ever known. He started riding the big roller-coasters at Six Flags, even the one that goes upside down, when he was just four years old. He wasn’t even scared. That is one of the ways he is brave. But there are others.
Every single morning when I tell Daniel it is time to go to school, he puts on his shoes and gets in the car with a big grin. And if I were Daniel, and I knew I was going to this great big school each day and I couldn’t tell people what I needed – I know for sure that I would not be as brave as Daniel.
I don’t think I will ever meet anybody as brave as Daniel for the rest of my life.
And I think Daniel would tell you that even though he is a lot different from you and even though he can’t talk to you, he likes it when you pay attention to him. I think Daniel thinks that all you guys are really awesome. And every time you try to help him, it makes him feel really good.