I sometimes foolishly wish I could have kept them small. My son is gone and my daughter is now 16. Adjusting to the changes and letting them go has been a hard thing for me, especially when she is here only here part time now. Mom is not coping well with the prematurely empty nest, but her new school has opportunities for her that the school here sadly does not offer. The schools in this city seem content to warehouse and use the special needs children for free labor, rather than attempt to give them a chance at something better. I refuse to believe all my daughter will be capable of is cleaning someone’s floor, or working for the local MRDD center making two dollars an hour, while they profit far more from her labor.

My daughter is high functioning autistic, and also has mild mental retardation. If you met her you likely would never know, were it not for the fact that she appears and acts several years to young for her true biological age. She communicates well, is very sweet natured, and has a kind and loving heart. I worry for her future sometimes, especially now that the schools, the social workers, her father and a host of other people all seem to have opinions about what they think is best for her.

The things people say upset me greatly sometimes. She is not broken, nor does she need to be trained. They almost make her sound like a puppy than a human being with their talk of training and punishment when she doesn’t meet their expectations of her. She has her own thoughts, and her own dreams, ones they seem intent to steal from her. She is worth more than the worker bee they seem to want to make her. They all talk about what they feel is best for her, but seem so blinded to listening to the things she wants for herself.

There is no reason she cannot have all the things she could ever dream and wish for. My daughter is a fighter, and so herself in ways most people cannot appreciate. Every day she has lived past the age of two years old is a miracle. I will always be blessed that God saw fit to give her back to me after we almost lost her.

I will keep on loving her, and keep fighting for her, it is all I can do…