Dear Dr. Jacobsen,
I wanted to thank you so much for all that you have done for me over the years, from my earliest days of elementary school to the present day. I do not think that it would be an exaggeration to say that I would never have been at the place where I am today without your help and intervention. During my earliest years of elementary school, I knew that I was having trouble fitting in with the rest of the crowd, struggling to make friends with others and doing my own thing, but I had no idea that my condition was actually not “normal” in the setting. Ironically, it turns out that my best friend in elementary school had some form of learning challenge as well. It was my kindergarten teacher who observed that I behaved differently and recommended to my parents to seek assessments and advice from educational experts. My family doctor first referred me to meet with Dr. H, a child development psychologist for Children. Dr. H eventually referred me to meet with you for further assessments. While I have little memory on our initial meetings, I vaguely remember the time when I unwittingly set off the fire alarm at school when we met! It was determined that I have Asperger’s syndrome within the definition of ASD. I never fully understood my condition until much later in my life, but I remembered frequently being pulled out of class time in order to go through intervention programs. While I frequently chafed at being pulled out of class with the others, my social and developmental skills slowly improved, and my desire to be with others is a reflection of my growth.
It has now been almost twenty years since we first et, and so much has changed during that period of time. I have since graduated from both high school and university, with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. I would have never been able to attend such a prestigious university without your assistance. It was because of your help that I was able to gain the exam accommodations that I needed to do well in university. I think that one of the most important pieces of advice that you gave me for university was to “play the game,” and I worked hard to do so. Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Arts degree in a theological seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I am finally gaining my full independence and thriving both academically and socially, making real friends. My love of the piano also started with you, when you first suggested that I take piano lessons to improve my motor skills. Playing the piano has turned out to be a great stress relief, and it has helped me to function well in other tasks such as driving. From childhood to now, there have been many ups and downs through life, but it is through your help and the constant intervention programs that has brought me to where I am now. I hope that you will never forget me, because I will never forget what you have done for me.
A Young Adult