Jon left for junior high in the Fall of 2004 with a whole new outlook and a dream of being popular. He actually prayed for that every night. Jon had many wonderful teachers throughout his life and some not so kind but we learned patience during those difficult times. The brightest star that first year at Junior High was Frau Henry, that special teacher that almost didn’t happen! Jon’s diagnosis of autism brought difficult choices. Would it be better for Jon to have extra resource time or take an elective of Foreign Language? He persisted in wanted to be like every 6th grade student. He was placed in German Class with the beautiful, Frau Henry who played awesome games and threw beanie babies when it was your turn to answer a question.

She instinctively knew how to help him without making him feel foolish or less capable and he succeeded. It was the first club he joined in Junior High and even helped design the t-shirt it, had Albert Einstein it! He never felt like an outsider, he never felt less when he was around her. They formed a friendship that has surpassed his life. He came back to visit her after Jr. High, he asked her to verify in the movie “Lilies of the Field”, if the German being spoken by the nuns was accurate, as you see he was a budding cinematographer.

She came to see him perform at Acoustics for Autism. They posed for silly pictures together at his high school graduation party and whenever the opportunity presented itself she supported his Foundation. Frau Henry even walked in his memory at the McLean County Autism Society Hero walk in 2013.

Thank you Frau Henry for giving Jon the gift of a foreign language and the courage to not let anyone see his diagnosis as a disability by your example.