fanmail from a thankful sister
July 6, 2010
I wanted to express how your site and the work you do has affected my life in such a personal way. My little brother, Brian, was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. He’s had a lot of trouble learning to use language and doesn’t really engage with other people. I’m his sister and around him all the time, and he used to hardly ever connect with me. About a year ago, though, I started researching because of my own interest in insects, and I started bringing bugs I caught into the house in small cages during the day to watch them. Brian was aware of them right away and kept asking me what different bugs I caught were, and he got really frustrated when I didn’t know. When I stumbled across your site one night, I was so happy it was easy to use to try to identify bugs, had so many resources, and, of course, let me send in pictures if I couldn’t figure one out for myself. Since then, Brian and I have been able to catch bugs together and find out what they are. He l oves it. He’s talked to me more in the past year than he has in his whole life. He sometimes tells his teacher about bugs he finds and takes worms off the sidewalk to put them in the grass (his first sign of empathy, I think). These are h-u-g-e steps for him. Even his psychologist is blown away by the changes he’s experienced recently.
I wanted to express my gratitude for the work you do and how important it is for me and my family.
the picture is Brian at a butterfly habitat near our home
This might be the only time in the entire time we have been posting letters that we are totally without words of comment. Your letter made our day.