A teacher from Northern California wrote a special ‘love letter’ to students with autism that has received worldwide attention.
“Dear Child With Autism, You brighten each and every day,” wrote Sheila Chako, a fifth-grade teacher who blogs with her personal experiences and advice for other educators.
According to Chako, she came home from work and decided to pen the letter to let children with autism know they’re special.
“I know school is hard,” she continues, “every day I see the worry on your face. School goes quickly. Daily changes throw you off-course. You worry. About yourself. You cry because you have no friends.”
Sheila wrote the letter in March on her blog, Sprinkle Teaching Magic. While her words were meant to encourage students, she wound up making an impact for moms and dads who reached out to her.
On her blog, someone wrote, “So beautiful, thank you for sharing” and “great thought-provoking post.” Another wrote, “What a beautiful letter. As a parent of a child with autism, I am moved to tears. I pray that all of my son’s teachers feel this way about him.”
In an interview with FOX 8’s Mark Zinni, Chako said she was surprised by the response she has received. “It really pulls on the heartstrings of reality for these families and to feel like they want their child to be special in a teacher’s eye.”
Sheila takes a lot of pride in the roll a teacher plays in the life of a young boy or girl with autism. Dr. Robert Needleman from MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland said kids are at an impressionable age when they’re newly diagnosed and teachers are key to their development.
“Brains change over time. They change with learning - the physical structure of the brain rearranges itself in response the learning,” said Dr. Needlman.
“I’m thankful for these children,” said Chako. “They’re a blessing and they have brought so much joy to my life - my fondest memories so far as a teacher are with these students.”
While Sheila has received countless notes to say thanks, she remains focused on getting her special message out to the world.
“You push me to be a better and more patient teacher,” she wrote, "You push me to develop new and innovative ways to meet your needs… I am your teacher, and I will fight for you every day. I just see you. Thank you for being you.”
Click here to read Sheila’s entire letter.
Click here for more on autism awareness.