Autism The Night Before Christmas

Autism The Night Before Christmas

by Cindy Waeltermann

This poem was written in 2008 by Cindy Waeltermann, who is the founder of the organization Autism Link.


Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house

The creatures were stirring

Yes, even the mouse


We tried melatonin

And gave a hot bath

But the holiday jitters

They always distract


The children were finally

All nestled in bed

When nightmares of terror

Ran through my OWN head


Did I get the right gift

The right color

And style

Would there be a tantrum

Or even, maybe, a smile?


Our relatives come

But they don’t understand

The pleasure he gets

Just from flapping his hands.


“He needs discipline,” they say

“Just a well-needed smack,

You must learn to parent…”

And on goes the attack


We smile and nod

Because we know deep inside

The argument is moot

Let them all take a side


We know what it’s like

To live with the spectrum

The struggles and triumphs

Achievements, regressions…


But what they don’t know

And what they don’t see

Is the joy that we feel

Over simplicity


He said “hello”

He ate something green!

He told his first lie!

He did not cause a scene!


He peed on the potty

Who cares if he’s ten,

He stopped saying the same thing

Again and again!


Others don’t realize

Just how we can cope

How we bravely hang on

At the end of our rope


But what they don’t see

Is the joy we can’t hide

When our children with autism

Make the tiniest stride


We may look at others

Without the problems we face

With jealousy, hatred

Or even distaste,


But what they don’t know

Nor sometimes do we

Is that children with autism

Bring simplicity.


We don’t get excited

Over expensive things

We jump for joy

With the progress work brings


Children with autism

Try hard every day

That they make us proud

More than words can say.


They work even harder

Than you or I

To achieve something small

To reach a star in the sky


So to those who don’t get it

Or can’t get a clue

Take a walk in my shoes

And I’ll assure you


That even 10 minutes

Into the walk

You’ll look at me

With respect, even shock.


You will realize

What it is I go through

And the next time you judge

I can assure you


That you won’t say a thing

You’ll be quiet and learn,

Like the years that I did

When the tables were turned……


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