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Dear Sully, 

Thank you for changing our lives! Many times when someone thinks about autism they think of it negatively. But I want to talk about autism in a positive light. I want to talk about what our son’s autism has taught us

We wanted to write this letter to you, my beautiful boy, letting you know just how much you have changed our lives and the things you have taught us. 

You have made us more compassionate toward others. You have shown us the ability to not judge others because you never know what struggles they are facing. 

You have shown us we are stronger than we ever possibly thought we could be. You have shown us that with hard work and the right tools you can do anything you set your mind to. 

You have taught us coping skills, the importance of patience, understanding, and forgiveness. You have taught us a love that is unmeasurable. 

RELATED: The Struggle You Don’t See in a Special Needs Family

You have taught us the power of inclusion. You have provided us with a platform to educate, advocate, support, and encourage others. 

Because of you, we have been connected with some of the most amazing people who we wouldn’t have met otherwise. Many of them have become an extension of our family. 

You have taught us that some battles aren’t worth fighting. The petty things that used to be important just aren’t anymore. 

You have taught us that we aren’t going to accept bullying, bigotry, and discrimination. 

You have taught us not to take anything for granted. 

You have taught us who to trust and not trust and who is important in our lives and who isn’t worth the fight. 

You have taught us to celebrate every milestone. Even the smallest. 

You have taught us to look at the world differently. You have taught us to look beyond the surface of people. 

You have taught us to think before we speak. You have taught us that actions speak louder than words. 

RELATED: When They Say “I See You, Special Needs Mom”

You have taught us the importance of appreciating, loving, and respecting all kids for who they are. And demanding respect and understanding for them. 

You have helped us teach others that your lifealong with others with special needsis just as important as any others. It’s basic human rights. 

You have taught us that disabilities don’t have to be negative. That we need to focus on the positives. 

You have taught us that we are fighters, activists, and advocates. 

You have taught us that it’s okay to be unapologetically yourself. 

Thank you for changing our lives, Sully. We can’t imagine a life without you, sweet boy. 

Mom and Dad

Originally published on Finding Cooper’s Voice

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Tonya Andrews

Tonya lives in Ankeny, Iowa with her husband Tim and their three boys, Gavin (24), Remington (10), and Sullivan (9).  Their son Sullivan has Autism, ADHD, ODD, and SPD and their whole family suffers from anxiety. They started their Facebook page Confessions of a Family with 3 Crazy Boys - Autism, Anxiety & ADHD to help educate, advocate, encourage, and support others. They want people to feel seen and heard and to know they are not alone. Tonya serves as President on the Board of Directors for L-evate Coaching and Learning Services, an autism nonprofit. Tonya also is the host of a weekly LIVE Facebook/YouTube Talk Show and Podcast called Confessions of Caregivers: Neurodivergent Motherhood Unplugged. Tim and Tonya love to travel and try to take a trip once a year, just the two of them, to reconnect and remind themselves they are still married.

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