We wrote a letter to your sister a while ago with every intention of writing a letter to you as well. We have been struggling to write it for many reasons. We did not want it to be a list of things we are sorry for but, instead, a list of things we love about you. Inevitably, though, we have to apologize for some things before we can continue. We are sorry that your treatment has been delayed due to decisions and policies and oversights beyond our control. We are so sorry that there is only one therapy approved in New Brunswick. We are so sorry that the only current option for therapy is one we do not feel is best suited for you. Your dad and I are trying to incorporate other available therapies and treatments but the expense and availability of these things can be overwhelming. You have been waiting over six months to begin your treatment. We are afraid that we have missed a very crucial time for your development. We are terrified we will make a wrong move or a bad decision. We are so grateful for your speech pathologist and your OT and Amanda for helping us get started. We are so grateful for the members of Team Kate who share advice and information and kind words with us. We promise we will not give up. We will be vigilante in fighting to get you access to the most contemporary treatments and everything you need and deserve to reach your full potential. Your father will go toe to toe with anyone to protect you. He has a very refined and educated, "you'll do what I ask and then you'll thank me for it" style of talking to people who hold the power to make key changes to autism treatment programs here in New Brunswick. My style is more like a, "there is nothing fiercer than the mother of a special needs child" kind of thing. We may be new in the 'game' but we are educated, motivated and ready to take on the world. Enough of that now. This letter is meant to tell you how much you mean to us. We want you to know you are the sweetest, most sincere, little girl. You are so easy to love. We have noticed that people are drawn to you. They quickly adore you after only one meeting. We are so glad that we are the lucky ones that get to have you. We love that each night when we put you to bed you call out, "Mama, you ok?", five times before you fall asleep. We love listening to you talk happily to your toys when you wake up in the morning. We love watching you play with your sister and your new kitten, Monty. We love your hugs and kisses. They are so genuine. We love your little behaviours that make you stand out; the 'stims' that people used to diagnose you. These are things that the 'therapy' will try and train out of you. We know you do them for good reason. We know you find comfort in them and we will not let anyone take them away from you until you are ready. We love your bright eyes and excitement whenever we walk into the room. It is a feeling we hope every parent and child feels when they see each other. We love your sparkly blue eyes and blonde curls. We love that it is near impossible to take your picture because you are so busy at playing all the time. We love that you are never mean or insincere. You are so loving and authentic, in a way that I think only a child with ASD can be. We know you will do amazing things. We know you will astound us. We are so proud of you. You are so special. You are so loved. Love Mommy and Daddy xxoo.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
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Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)