As we end the year 2021, we would like to thank all of the people who have cared for someone with a neurodevelopmental disability over the last year. The holidays can be a challenging time of year for those with neurodevelopmental disabilities and the people who care about them.
· To the caretakers who took their loved one to the big family holiday gathering only to be disappointed by an embarrassing behavioral outburst and to the caretakers who felt guilty for skipping the big holiday family gathering because they might have made it through it without incident and even enjoyed it.
· To the caretakers who encouraged their loved one to partake in traditional holiday food only to have it come back up all over the table and to the caretakers that brought out the hot dogs and chips for their holiday breakfast.
· To the caretakers who braved decorations like candles and lights and to all who opted for things less breakable and more tolerable to their loved one with sensory issues.
· To the strangers who saw a behavioral outburst and moved something out of the way or offered to help and to the strangers who knew what was needed most was for them to quietly go about their business and choose not to stare.
· To caretakers who struggled to find a gift that might be meaningful to their loved one who has limited interests and rigid routines and to the caretakers who opted to get them their favorite childhood movie character toy yet again just to see them smile.
To the vast expanse of people who take care of the ever-expanding number of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your efforts and sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated, though there may seem to be few expressions of gratitude from your loved one. May you all go into the new year with hope for better outcomes and faith in your ability to continue in your quest to make your loved one’s life more meaningful. No matter how small or unsuccessful your efforts seem, you have the Ability to Matter in your loved one’s life and we thank you for doing so.