November 24, 2011

To Josh, from Round Rock

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I write this to sixteen-year-old Josh, from Round Rock,Texas.

Thank you, Josh, for playing with the boy who took such an interest in you in that hotel pool.

Thank you for not questioning why he invaded every bit of your personal space and clung to you like you were a long-lost friend, even though he had never seen you before.

Thank you for returning his laugh. Thank you for looking him in the eye. Thank you for talking TO HIM, and not around him.

When I told you that he has autism, thank you for responding as if you already knew.

When I told you that he is non-verbal, thank you for again responding as if this wasn't some kind of strange news.

And, mostly, when I told you that my son loves being thrown in the pool by his dad, thank you for throwing my 65-pound child around that pool.

After watching you interact with my son for just a few minutes, I knew you had to have some type of connection to at least one person with special needs.

You told me that you volunteer, through a program at your high school, to work with kids with autism.

Of course you do,

Because look at how wonderfully you interacted with my son -- a boy who usually keeps to himself in that pool and draws the occasional glances when his differences become apparent.

Thank you for welcoming his attempt to interact. As you saw, he doesn't have the skills to approach people in typical ways. Thank you for accepting his clear interest in you and returning the attention.

Thank you for commenting on his strong swimming skills.

Thank you for saying that "he seems high functioning."

He is not -- at least not according to the traditional indicators employed by school districts and educational evaluators. Daniel struggles. We struggle as his family. BUT thank you, thank you, Josh, for reminding me that someone who knows a little something about autism can see Daniel and see a lot of great things.

Thank you for talking directly to my daughter, who too often gets overlooked. Like me, she wishes her brother had friends. Like me, she loves watching her brother being happy. She was thrilled watching you interact with him in the fun, positive ways that you did.

Thank you for reminding me that there are kind, golden-hearted people in the world who can look at my son and see more than just a nonverbal child with autism.

If you read this, Josh-from-Round-Rock-who-was-in-DFW-for-the-Cowboys game, show it to your family and tell them how lucky they are to have a kid like you. And if you are still single when you are 35, look us up. You are, after all, only ten-years older than my daughter. ;)


  1. Hi, I am Josh's mom from Round Rock. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts about Josh. We are very proud of him. He came back from the pool and told us that he enjoyed playing with Daniel. He also said that your daughter was a great helper. I hope you had a joyful and peaceful Thanksgiving.

  2. Oh, know I understand those rare, beautiful moments with people who are kind to our kids. How wonderful a gift this moment was!
    And to Josh's Mom...I obviously don't know you, but I, too, commend you for the great job you've done raising your son. We need more Josh's in this world! Happy holidays to all of you :)

  3. Hi this is Josh and I just wanted to thank Mama Deb and Mrs. Leah for all the nice things that you said. Daniel is really a wonderful kid and I probably had as much fun as he did. Olivia is going to become a powerful independent woman I can already tell. I really did not think that I would have such an impact, because I was just hanging out with a kid who really isn’t much different than anyone else, just a happy kid.

  4. Hi to Nancy and Josh! So glad you found me, Daniel and Olivia on this big blogosphere. Josh, if everybody had your accepting spirit, the world would be a much different, more peaceful, kinder place! Hope you had a great time at the game; so glad the Cowboys won! Nancy, your son is a natural with young kids! Look me up on Facebook if you'd like. My name is Leah Rauch. You will see Daniel and Olivia in my pic!

  5. Thank you for sharing this with the blogosphere. What a beautiful story - especially in light of the holiday season. There really are those gems in the world and it's heartwarming when we discover them. You brought tears to my eyes.

  6. first, the post and then the comments just did me in. let me add my thank you's to Josh and his mom. we are grateful for people who SEE our kids and treat them with such care.

    my friend, i'm SO happy Daniel had such a wonderful, special time in the pool.

  7. Amen to what everyone else said! This post really made my day!!

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