Autistic people should be welcomed
ast week, my son brought home his class composite picture. He placed it on the top shelf of his book case. Later that evening, he reproached me when I inadvertently brushed it off the shelf.
Not the stereotypical autistic behavior, right? Lost in their own world. Aloof. Apart. Unengaged. We’ve all heard these words to describe our kids.
But as the value he places on the photo shows, in his class, my son is part of a community. That’s because he’s welcomed there. He’s been welcomed there since Day 1, when he arrived as a refugee from a class where he was — shall we say — not welcomed. That’s how I came to learn how important it is to be welcomed.
The lesson was reinforced just the other day. He wasn’t feeling well, and the school called me to pick him up early. We were standing outside his locker, gathering his boots and coat, when about a half-dozen kids from the class converged on him.
“Owen, where are you going?”
“He must be going home. He didn’t feel good.”
“Owen, can I get a high-five?”
“I hope you feel better.”
“Owen, can I get a wave?
“Bye, Owen, hope to see you tomorrow.”
These kids–six, seven, eight years old, most of them–acted more kindly and warmly and thoughtfully than I sometimes am capable of myself, being one prone to tripping over the “should.” In the moment, I felt chastened and humbled. But most of all, heartened.
He is welcomed. He knows it. He responds.
High five, kids in Mrs. Stricker’s class.
Today’s post is part of a flashblog – “Autistic People Should” – which began as a way to combat the disgusting and vilesearch engine results that pop up when someone Googles the phrase “Autistic people should.”
Please, share this blog post, and others like it, such as Stuart Duncan’s “Autistic People Should Be,” Jo Ashline’s “Autistic People Should Be Free to Flap” and Amy Sequenzia’s Autistic People Should,” and help replace these vile “top searches” with messages of love, acceptance, and respect.
– The letter “L” brought to you by Daily Drop Cap.