Learn to Bend

My daughter is about to be 12. In 19 short days she will be in her last preteen year.

She is beautiful, smart, lives in her own world that we proudly insert ourselves in everyday and she also has autism.

Severe, non-verbal, complicated autism. And this world we live in is not designed for her.

We have to make constant alterations to the environment around us to make it tolerable for my girl and her needs. But unfortunately the environment and the people in it, don’t always want to bend.

The older Sloane gets, the more obvious the judgement of the world around us becomes.

You see my girl might almost be 12, but some of her needs and wants are those of a much younger little girl.

These things that she loves soothe her. They calm her down. But they also bring her judgement.

But they make my girl feel at peace in a world that gives her so little. So I challenge you to alter your perspective, withhold your judgment and your transparent facial expressions towards others like my girl.

My girl’s mind sometimes needs the compassion and wants of a toddler. And that is okay.

My girl likes soft words, baby talk if you will, it puts a huge smile on her face. Which her smile could cure so much pain!

My girl likes a bottle of warm milk to ease her stress, her meltdowns and sensory overload. Yes, a bottle.

My girl likes to sit in her Daddy’s lap like she is a tiny little 2 year old girl and get hugs and tickles.

My girl loves to swing without a care in the world.

My girl loves to listen to Baby Einstein and any baby music toy that you can find. She drowns out the world and hums into hers.

My girl used to love to a pacifier to soothe her when she was upset. I can recall so many looks and stares. She made the decision she didn’t want it any more.

My girl has had the hardest time with potty training. She still wears a diaper. We will get there one day.

And in my eyes, all these things, and so many more, they are okay.

My girl’s life does not always have easy, it comes with pain, and it comes with hard. She has little control of so many things and little independence in this unforgiving world.

So as her mother, her biggest fan, I chose to let her keep some of the things that may seem inappropriate for a 12 year old to you, but to me these things bring my girl happy and ease. They bring her joy, and they put that cure all smile on her face. And I cannot and will not deny her of that just so you can control your stares and your judgement.

I will not alter her happy to fit in a world that rarely bends for her.

So please learn to bend, withhold your judgement and think of my girl.

Written by, Shelley Tinnon

I am 38, married and have two beautiful children.  My daughter, Sloane, is 10 and has severe, nonverbal autism.  She teaches me something new about her and myself almost every day.  Jude is my 3 year old.  I cannot remember life before Jude.  He is the sweetest, brightest little light.  My husband and I have known each other since we were kids.  He knows EVERYTHING there is to know about me and still loves me.  I feel like I should get him a trophy or something! I tell my kids every day that they are “Momma’s Girl” and “Momma’s Boy” and poor daddy! Jaeson completely disagrees with this statement, but the truth hurts! Hahaha!

You can follow Shelley’s blog at, JUST FINE and on Facebook at Just Fine Blog.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, 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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