Autism help

Thank you, Valley Record, for highlighting the autism program at North Bend Elementary School.

Thank you, Valley Record, for highlighting the autism program at North Bend Elementary School.

It was great to read about this special program and how it is helping our children with autism.

I have a son with autism who was enrolled in Mrs. Sally’s class. I can say from personal experience that this program is a strong asset in our community. The work done within those three classrooms will help our kids on the autism spectrum to reach their full potential.

Not only is it helping the children and their families who are walking the autism road, but it is helping to educate the mainstream children in the typical classroom. This is so important. There are many children in our small community who have autism and they need the grace and understanding of those around them. It can be hard to take our spectrum children to public events, the store or even to the beach or a movie. It’s not uncommon in these situations that our children become overwhelmed and act out in ways that others may find disturbing or rude. Having had this happen myself, I can tell you that the looks and shaking heads of other parents and people around me are hard to take. If they only knew that my son had autism, that he was doing the best he could, that we are doing our best to teach him, if only.

That being the case, I hope that your article will give the people of our community a chance to think and pause the next time they see a child in public become upset. I hope they take a deep breath and look a little closer at the child and the entire family. Maybe this is a kid with autism. Maybe the parents are choosing to bring him out into the public eye so that he can learn and adapt to new social situations. Maybe they can have some grace, a smile and even a pat on the back for those parents.

Compassion and understanding are needed for the families and their children with autism. It is not an easy walk, folks. I hope in some way that the autism program at North Bend Elementary will continue to show its typical peers and their parents that a bit of love, patience and grace can go a long way.

Keep up the good work, Mrs. Sally, Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Byrnes, and all of your assistants. You are doing a good thing!

Janelle Cotogna