Kylee and Rye

Kylee and Rye

When I sat down to write my tip this month I could not get my amazing niece Kylee out of my head. We had been sending messages back and forth all morning. I recently sent her an article written by a young woman named Taylor Raines. You can find the article posted on The Mighty, a blog I follow.

Ms. Raines writes about 8 things she wished she knew long before receiving an autism diagnosis at age 22. I encourage you all to read the article in its entirety. Here are the eight things indentified by Ms. Raines:

  1. You know just how much other people mean to you-but they don’t.
  2. You’ll find an amazing companion to share your life with, but it’ll take time and effort.
  3. If you never reach out to your friends, your friends will never reach out to you.
  4. You’re not “crazy”.
  5. You’re not “weird”.
  6. You’re not lazy or unintelligent.
  7. You’re not ugly for dressing comfortably.
  8. You’re you. And you’re wonderful.

My niece is wonderful. She is also extremely caring, smart, and creative. She and my son Rye have always had a very special bond.

They understand each other.

They both speak Pixar, Disney and Cartoon Network. They both love fireworks, carnival rides, and driving my father’s golf cart around the yard for hours on end. They both love trampolines, swinging, and swimming. They both sometimes need a break from too many people and they both sometimes need support when dealing with social situations.

A few months ago Kylee wrote a poem about what it feels like to have autism. I wanted to share it with you all.

I’m so proud of my niece for not being afraid to share her voice and her perspective. She doesn’t always know it or recognize it, but she is so brave. I will admire that about her always.


Special Children: An Autism Tribute

By: Kylee Johnson


Sometimes I act different

But I feel just the same

I cry and I smile

I lose and I gain


I may not like kisses

Or accepting your hugs

I have a hard time showing it

But I feel your love


I love those around me

And those around me love me

They don’t stare like the others

It’s only me that they see


They look past the standards

Society has set

For kids just like me

Kids they never bothered to have met


That people who are different

Are awkward or dumb

Because they sing their own songs

And dance to a different drum


Some think I’m spoiled

Or have a mischievous streak

When I’m actually overwhelmed

And how I express myself is unique


Children like me are different and few

But we still go through life learning the same thing as you

To live is to love and who we are we embrace

The only difference is I learn at my own pace


Because I don’t speak

Doesn’t mean I have nothing to say

I show it with actions, writing, and pictures

Not wrong, but in a different way


I hope my voice is heard by others

And those who can’t speak for themselves

My voice is a loud one

I use not only for myself