The respect and love this grandmother shows for her autistic grandson will melt your heart.

By Jamie Pacton
February 12, 2016

One grandmother and a special edcuation teacher reminded us this week: All kids need acceptance, patience, and love. And this is especially true for autistic children and kids with other special needs. Too often, these kids are only seen in terms of what they can't do or they're classified by how much they lag behind developmental norms. This can take a toll on their self-esteem, and it can also make it hard for them or others to see their potential.

As Chris Ulmer, the amazing special educator in Florida who starts out each morning by complimenting his students, says, "All children should be encouraged to follow their dreams. A child with special needs is no exception."

Ulmer is on a mission to spread acceptance for kids with special needs and raise their self-esteem. On his Facebook page, Special Books by Special Kids, he shares pictures of his students and stories from his classroom, brags about their accomplishments, and posts heartwarming videos.

One of his recent videos really touched our hearts and we wanted to share it with you. In the video, Ulmer is speaking with the grandmother of an autistic young man, and what comes through in their conversation is the great respect and love both Chris and this grandmother have for this child.

As you can see from the video, this autistic boy is not a "burden to bear" or a "problem to be solved," as so much anti-autism rhetoric would have us believe. He's a beloved child with interests and gifts, and he's making strides forward at his own pace.

This is powerful stuff, and I'll echo what Chris says in his "Open Letter to the World": "PLEASE SHARE THIS. This is truly an opportunity for us to make a difference in our world together...for the sake of individuals with special needs everywhere...spread this around the world. Follow our journey. Take a few minutes each day to understand my students and friends."

So, thank you Chris for all the good work you do, and we can't wait to see what your students will do next!

Jamie Pacton lives near Portland where she drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at and Twitter @jamiepacton.