Erin Maddison is the mother of a 2-year-old boy with nonverbal autism named Kyler – and even though she’s his mother, she is apparently not the only one looking after the young child. He also has a friend and guardian in an 11-year-old girl named Giulia.
34-year-old Erin was picking her son up from daycare in Barrie, Ontario, when one of the workers gave her a note from a mysterious youngster. The mother knew that there had been a girl spending time with her son at daycare, but she had never seen or spoke to her directly.
The letter read: “My name is Giulia. I’m 11 years old. My brother has autism, so I thought I’d share some ideas that helped my brother.”
“Music helped my brother build up his vocabulary. He started talking when he was 1 and a half, then stopped at 2, and started again when he was 5.
“I feel very passionate about autism. I enjoy helping Kyler. He seems to like the piano at daycare and enjoys getting others to listen. I’ll put a list of the ideas under the letter, please write back and tell me what you think of the ideas.”
Giulia then goes on to list several tips on how to entertain and calm autistic children – and it is actually really good advice. For starters, she suggests using a therapy brush to calm down Kyler when he is upset. She says that weighted vests are helpful in keeping a child from moving around too much. And then she finishes the letter by saying that her mother also has some “helpful papers” that she could send along to Erin, should she need them.
Needless to say, Erin was blown away.
“I spoke with Giulia last night and thanked her for the letter, and today I wrote her back,” Erin said. “I had tears when I first read her letter, I’m just so happy that my little boy has a friend like her.”
Once she crafted her response, Erin said that she is absolutely going to be putting Giulia’s suggestions to the test – after all, who wouldn’t?
“I am going to use all of her tips. It’s great advice,” says Erin. “This little girl would be a great occupational therapist in the future.”