Dear Doctor,

I don’t know where to start…

We’ve come a long way. As you remember probably better than I do, when I was 4 I was diagnosed with autism.

Looking back at it now 22 years later, I can attribute my progress to my work with some of the best doctor’s and therapists in the state. The best speech therapists, the best occupational therapists and the best physical therapists. I was lucky. I thought we had it all…

But than we started working with you.

I remember the first time my mom told me the story of how you two met each other when she had ankle issues that required surgery. She didn’t have time for surgery so you willed the ankles back into place with intensive physical therapy. So I get it now. When she was faced with my diagnosis at four she wouldn’t accept anything but a good outcome for me so you made it your mission to help me with intensive physical and occupational therapy.

When I first started coming to your office I knew I was a bit challenging but even at that young age I could tell how much you cared for your patients. We started working on exercises that would help me with my motor skills and my overall conditioning. When I got to High School, you played a huge part in helping me have the motivation to lose 60 pounds to play basketball and make some of the first friends I ever had. Along the way you were there to help with every little injury that would come along not only for me but my mom and dad as well.

We spent so much time together and during that time you had the most positive attitude. When I was going through emotional issues as a kid and started losing motivation towards doing my exercises, we started new ones to try to gauge my interest. You never gave up on me. You reminded me so much of my parents in that you recreated the wheel to help see me progress.

Than something happened which I’m not sure we were expecting going in. You became a part of our family. You weren’t just my physical therapist but you were my friend. You helped me in school and you would always be there at Christmas time with a gift just to show you cared. I still love visiting your office and catching up with you on anything from politics to college basketball.

When the therapy stopped when I went to college we stayed close and you remained a huge part of my support system. You helped me land my first-ever internship at CBS Sports. Later, we’d ask you for help with countless scholarships and graduate school and you were always the first one there willing to help. You helped me grow into a Master’s graduate who now speaks professionally, has a full-time job and has lived independently.

I can’t thank you enough. Everything I’ve been able to overcome in my life whether it was academically, physically, socially… you name it, you were there. I can only hope those families out there reading this letter that may have a child with special needs have someone as amazing as you to help them succeed. I wouldn’t be here without you.

I hope those families out there reading this letter that may have a child with special needs have someone as amazing as you to help them succeed. The spectrum of autism and special needs is so large and the one thing I hope any therapist can give their patients is something you’ve shown me time and time again.

Your heart… This one’s for you Carl!