This article was originally posted on Love & Autism. You can read the original here.
Dear Little One,
When no one's watching, let's do our silly handshake. I'll show you my goofy face and you will burst into giggles. We’ll let our giggles turn to wiggles and wiggle our way into a funny dance.
Let's find our own rhythm, our own way of being together. You get to be you, and I will be my truest me.
When no one's watching, I will not check my phone unless I tell you it's urgent. I will not sit idly, waiting for our session to pass. I will not count the minutes till you leave my office. I will be here with you. I will invite you to be with me; but I will not force you.
Because there is never a time that no one is watching. You are watching, you are someone. In fact, you are everyone. Because you are my client. And you deserve me to be my best self.
When you watch me, I know how trust is everything between us. I will show you what it means to be a trusted person in your life by my actions and my words. I will not talk about you to your parents or your teacher in a demeaning way. I know that this will lose trust between us. If others engage in conversations that don’t serve you, I will kindly but clearly set limits. I want you to see in me that trust is a practice between human beings. It is essential.
I Will Watch You Grow
When you watch me, I have the opportunity to let you feel my admiration for you. I will let you see our equality. You see, most people won't paint us out to be the same. You have been given a label; I have been given a role. Somehow this creates inequality in our society. But guess what, you and I will do it differently. I am not here to rescue you. I am not here to make you into something you are not. We are equals. We are humans. I just happen to be a bit older than you, so I will take my wisdom and show you what I know about living & loving. I will watch you grow.
When you watch me, if I showboat your abilities suggesting you perform to prove that you’ve learned something from me, you won’t respect me. I will not make you do or say something so that I feel like a better therapist. I want to earn your respect and once earned I will work to keep it.
When you watch me, I'll be my best self. I'll show you my heart. I'll share with you my world and I will adore yours. I will let you feel what it means to be cared for, I will also let you care for me with kindness, silliness, and laughter and all the great things that children do for adults.
You Will Know That You Are Enough
As much as I know that you will be watching me, I will also be watching you. When I watch you, it is not to collect tally numbers of the things that you didn’t do or give you happy face stickers. My eyes will never demand you to look at me. When I watch you, you can feel my eyes are different; they are full of love. At first, you won't be able to trust these eyes, because so many eyes have watched you before and reduced you to something you are not. Soon enough, you will see how I see you. You will know that you are enough.
Love, Your Therapist,
Dr. Jenny Palmiotto