Thank You to the Friend Who Helped

I am a 56 year old mother in Florida with twin boys – one with autism and one without.  They are now 19 years old.

I knew my son had autism before he turned 2 – when I look back on it – I think he had it from birth.  They were born at 28 weeks and had to spend 2 months in NICU.  He always hated the bright lights and noise in there – would try to pull out his IV’s – had to have music to calm him down.

He was a very good baby, but as he grew older I began to notice that he never paid any attention to his brother, when he turned 2 had terrible tantrums, was a picky eater and didn’t potty train at all until he was 11 years old.

One telling moment was an Easter Egg hunt I took them to when they were 2 – he had just been diagnosed.  All the other children were having a great time finding the eggs – my son just wandered away over to a telephone pole and just stood staring at it and occasionally licking it.

I will never forget it – my heart actually hurt!  We spent many hours going to therapies, enrolling in studies it was exhausting.

Fast forward a few years to when it was time for kindergarten.  I had taken my typical son to orientation and looked over and saw a friend of mine that I had gone to elementary school with in the 4th grade!  We hadn’t seen each other in at least 25 years.  She was enrolling her daughter in the same class.

She had moved away in 5th grade and we wrote letters to each other for awhile until we lost touch.  She still remembered my address from back then!

The reason I am mentioning her is that I will be forever grateful for what she has done for my typical son!  As the boys got older, it was getting harder and harder to go places and do fun things with both of them without having to leave because of tantrums, or my autistic child just wanting to go home.

She was an absolute godsend – she took my son and her daughter to fairs, festivals, theme parks – everything you can imagine!  One of their favorites was the Kumquat Festival – where they had kumquat pie.  If my husband babysat – I got to join them – we went to the beach for the weekend, movies you name it.

I cannot tell you how absolutely wonderful it was to know my typical child would get to experience some things he would never have been able to do without her.

We are still good friends to this day – even though my typical is now away at college and his brother is still at home with us.    I don’t have any pictures of her – we both hate to have our picture taken, but I attached some of the boys.  No recent ones of them together!

Written by, Jerry Tacinelli

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Jerry Tacinelli and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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