April 18, 2013

Doing Right By Daniel

I have learned from Charlie that love doesn't always come from what you say.  It can also come from what you do.  And so we do right by Charlie.  We love Charlie strong We watch over him with the might of angels.  We have to.   

-- My Brother Charlie, by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

This afternoon, I will speak to two classrooms of first-graders.  My daughter will be among these bright children, who are learning to read and write in not just one, but two languages.

I will do my best to explain to them about my son, who struggles to communicate at all.

I will try so hard to explain this mysterious beast known as autism, to help them understand that Daniel is much more like them than he is different, and to inspire them to do right by kids like Daniel.

My words to these kids is my way of doing right by Daniel, my way of trying to make up for my many failures. Because as much as I hate autism, as much as I wish my son was not affected by the disorder, it is Daniel's spirit -- his pure love for life in spite of his challenges -- that makes him the bravest person I have ever known.