I don't know much about children. I have never had any of my own and while I do have a niece and several nephews I have never been close to any of them due in part to geography and in part due to family discord. I do however know enough about children to be amazed by the resilience they display in all situations particularly those even adults would have difficulty dealing with. Never have I seen this ability to conquer cruelty with kindness illustrated as selflessly and profoundly than by a little boy named Sammy.

From the beginning little Sammy had a rough start in life. His mother had her share of health issues and his father was in the Army and was deployed out of the country when he was born. He spent the first days of his life in the NIC Unit and then was released to go home with a clean bill of health. As Sammy approached his fourth year he had grown into a strong healthy boy however for some time his parents had some concerns regarding other areas of his development. They talked with their pediatrician who listened to their concerns and after evaluating Sammy schedule some tests. Living in a rural area facilities and resources locally were extremely limited and it was necessary for the family to travel a long distance to have the necessary tests performed. After what seemed like an endless number of tests and an unbearable amount of time, Sammy was diagnosed with Asperger autism. Sammy's parent's were heartbroken upon hearing the diagnoses. The world can be a cold, cruel place for anyone different from the mainstream population and they knew life would not be easy for Sammy.

All too soon the day came for Sammy to start school and it was with a heavy heart his mother left him at school that first day. Still living in the same small rural area the school district was not equipped to handle a child in need special attention in order to thrive and reach their full potential. Sadly the first few years of his school life Sammy was merely a number in the system and he suffered for it. The children shunned him and made fun of him. He wasn't invited to parties with his classmates and while he tried to befriend other children in the beginning as time went by he stopped trying and would be content to watch other children play from a distance and entertain himself. In his young, tender life he had known only cruelty from other children and had no reason to trust or for that matter even knew what it was like to have a friend.

After Sammy had completed his first few years in school, the family had the opportunity to move to another school district and while still small it had a much better reputation. Sammy started school in his new district and was placed with a wonderful teacher. In no time at all he began to thrive and bloom and his teacher found him both a model student and a delight. One day Sammy's class was all working independently on an assignment when his teacher happened to look up from her desk and noticed Sammy helping another student who was having difficulty understanding the material. The little boy who had not experienced any kindness or friendship from his peers did not think twice about leaving his big heart wide open to help another child in need.

I am delighted to report that Sammy has continued to thrive in school as well as in every other activity his has endeavored to undertake. There are so many lessons we adults can learn from Sammy and would it not be a much better world if we were all more like him? Personally I find it a very sad commentary on our society that we recognize the need to fund programs to assist prescription drug addicted adults but we ignore the needs of children with autism and particularly in rural American make it as difficult as possible for the children to thrive. Children are not disposable and while an adult decides what medications and the amounts they do or do not take these children have no choice in the difficulties they face. Every child deserves the opportunity to spread their wings and fly as high as they can.

Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.