Dear Mom and Dad,
Throughout my life, you have done so much for me. So much to support me, so much to help me, and so much to push me to be the best version of myself. For this, I thank you.
When I struggled with learning how to do things as a young child, you were always there to show me how. Whenever I've come across a problem, you've always given me the best advice on how to tackle it. Whenever I need to be kept in check, you're there to wake me up.
Looking back as an undiagnosed autistic, there are a couple things I wish you would have done differently. I wish the fact that I'm developmentally young for my age would have been embraced in my earlier years. I was asked to act in a way that didn't come naturally to me. I wish you would have realized that I wasn't like, and didn't have to be just like, my peers. That everyone develops at their own rate, and that that's ok.
I wish you'd have understood the fact that I take a little longer to process things. That rather than becoming angry or impatient with me, you'd have given me the time I needed to process instructions. That you'd have clarified them for me when I needed it.
Now let's get back to what I feel you've done RIGHT. The above items are the only two things that really stand out that I would have liked for you to have handled differently. There are a lot of things I have you to thank for!
Once I first suspected I was autistic, you had your reservations at first. You thought that there was nothing "wrong" with me (when, after all, autism isn't a defect at all, but rather a different operating system). However, you were willing to LISTEN. The more I researched, the more I saw traits in myself, and the more I educated you an autism and how it related to me, you began to understand.
Finally, when the time came to complete questionnaires for my assessment, you were there. You completed them to the best of your knowledge, about what I was like early on as well as in the present. After having submitted them to my psychologist and going through a series of interview-style appointments, I had my answer! I was indeed autistic. You helped me find the answers I so desperately sought.
While I may have been a bit misunderstood in my early life, you still stuck by my side. You may have not known why I was a little different from my peers, yet you still encouraged me to succeed. To this day, you always help me when I need it. You now realize that I'm taking life at my own pace, and you let me live it on my terms - not society's. You no longer push me to act differently from how I feel - you let me be ME. When I'm confused or misunderstand instructions, you no longer become frustrated with me, but rather recognize that I just need a little time to process.
What you might not realize is that these things are HUGE to me. I can't express enough how thankful I am that you've taken the time to understand me. I can be myself and not feel like I'm doing anything wrong. I can be true to myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!