Monday, June 15, 2015

#DearPluto letter written by Nathan, Autism Speaks

Written by Nathan, a 13 year-old
with the aid of his teacher, Mare.

Today I received the above, from my educator friend, Mare:

"Hey Janet! This #DearPluto letter was written by my 13 year old student that has an amazing sense of humor, is sweet, teases me all the time, can read, do higher level math in his head, is severely autistic, non-verbal, can't hold a pencil, has very little communication skills, and yet, (in my opinion) is one of the most amazing kids I know.   This is the 4th writing assignment we have done this year.  They take a couple of weeks to do.  The other 3 all brought his mother to tears. Nathan and I worked on this using his YES/NO cards and picking from words I wrote on dry erase cards.  Nathan and I read several articles about New Horizons and Pluto, and I wrote some key words on dry erase cards. I asked him which things he wanted to talk about in his letter and he would pick the words from the cards.   I also asked him YES and NO questions to clarify his sentences.  Nathan approved all the sentences in the letter. We looked at a lot of pictures before Nathan picked out the picture for his letter.  Nathan does not draw. 

I hope you enjoy his letter.  Thank you for heading up this project and exciting students at all levels and skills about the importance of this valuable mission. Love, Mare" 

I love a 1000 things about this letter, but I REALLY love the fact that Nathan says of Pluto's moons, "Be careful flying by you don't hit one."

But as the New Horizons mission zooms ever closer to the unknown world of Pluto, I want to thank Nathan for sharing the wonder of his world by spending time writing this letter with the kind of patience I can only ever hope to emulate.

This young man's interest and thoughts about a spacecraft and a tiny planet and its moons, beckons to me the words of Challenger Astronaut, Christa McAuliffe, "Space is for everybody. It's not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That's our new frontier out there, and it's everybody's business to know about space."

So Nathan...Janet's Planet wants you to know that SPACE is for you! Keep writing and sharing your thoughts! You are an inspiration! May we as a species create more spaces to understand and access the inner worlds of autism spectrum disorder, as we explore the furthest worlds in our solar system.

Cosmic Peace My Sweet Peeps!

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