Ya know what is cool? When a group of 13 year olds embrace your nonverbal son with autism as one of their own. No judgments, no condescending comments, no reservations or hesitation. He is just another kid with them. Often times we hear about the bullies and the kids making fun of others. Well, this story is different.
Jack was invited to a birthday party for another friend with autism. In attendance at this party was at least another 20 typical peers in addition to some other nonverbal friends. It was MAGICAL. From the moment we arrived, Jack and his autistic peers were just regular kids hanging out and dancing. I was so immensely proud of my community and those “typical” kids for embracing Jack like a regular dude. Kudos to them and their families for teaching acceptance and tolerance and for realizing he IS just another kid looking for friends to accept him as is.
My heart swelled with pride and joy for him. He got to experience a real dance party with friends from school and danced nonstop only because people kept dragging him out to the dance floor! We left 20 minutes before the party ended and Jack got very upset. “I’m pissed we left early” he typed…just like a disgruntled 13 year old who doesn’t want to leave the party.
Every thanksgiving I try to focus on all the wonderful things and people in my life and give thanks. This year, I would add these to my gratitude list :
- Emma C. (and her twin sister) who has made it her mission in her young life, to include my son and his friend Mike in every part of their middle school experience. Her empathy, encouragement and passion for inclusion is remarkable. She is so special and her peers watch her so she is helping to change the way THEY see people with disabilities.
- For dance parties
- For wine at the dance parties
- For giggles from your boy
- For a supportive community
- For people who don’t suck.
What’s got you thankful this year??