A series of letters written between a seven-year-old autistic girl and her mother has captured the hearts of thousands after being uploaded to Facebook.
The post has been shared over a thousand times, and was written while Cadence, who has autism, sat beneath her teacher’s desk, which is a “safe space” for her.
In the notes, Cadence asks her mother if her autism “makes her bad.”
When asked why she would think that, Cadence references the many “grownups” who say it’s hard to be a parent when your child has autism.
She finished off the note by writing about her desire to not hurt anyone.
“I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like being scared. I would be scared in a jail room. I was born [with] autism but that doesn’t mean I was born bad.”
Cadence’s mother, Angela, told BuzzFeed News the letter acted as a reminder that the way adults talk about children affects them more than we consider.
“The burden of responsibility for enabling all children to feel safe, accepted and loved, rests with us, the ‘grown-ups’ – and sometimes we need reminding that we don’t always do a good job of it,” she said.
Cadence’s response led to Angela crying “happy tears,” touched by what her daughter had said.
“There have, on a handful of occasions, been scenarios where grown ups who are either not familiar with her challenges, or not tolerant of how she experiences the world, have behaved and responded poorly to her,” said Angela. “The negative impact on Cadence of these incidents have been very clear.”
Angela runs a Facebook page called “I am Cadence” that focuses on the idea that every child is innately special in their own way.
“Perhaps it is through the sharing of individuality over ‘fitting in,’ of encouraging curiosity and discussion over ‘gossip’, of promoting the right to child hood innocence over grown up perceptions – that it might just be possible, in some small way, to impact the world – one story at a time.”