When We Took Our Son on the Autism Spectrum to a Coldplay Concert

I’m going to try not to overstate things here, but, well… last night was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. And it wasn’t Coldplay’s doing. Yes, the concert was spectacular. Yes, I love the band. But the beauty of it for me lies in the connection we experienced with our son Davy. It lies in the connection our son experienced with thousands of other people.

His words (as we were walking back to our car after the concert) about this are way better than mine: “I felt super thankful tonight that so many other people love Coldplay like I do!”

Super thankful.

The need to feel known and understood is inherent in us all. The need to know and understand those we love is also a powerful force. Coldplay, out of nowhere, was the impetus for the first real point of connection we experienced with Davy.

I’ll never forget coming home from wherever and walking into the house to hear his dad Mark say, “He loves Coldplay.” Wha?

The child wasn’t even 2 years old. He wasn’t talking or pointing or doing anything to give us the slightest hint as to what he wanted or needed (except screaming until we figured it out). We were exhausted, discouraged, baffled.

But those three words: “He loves Coldplay.” Well, it ignited real connection.

We began playing albums for him. We put them on electronic devices and found out quite quickly that he could read.

We finally had music we could all listen to in the car and sing along to without the poor child melting down. We danced in the living room together and watched the concerts together. People began telling us about Coldplay “things” available to Davy. It was our “thing.” And we so desperately needed a thing. And you know why? Connection. Coldplay gave us connection during an isolating and lonely season of our lives.

Last night’s experience was the culmination of all of the above. And we knew it was a risk. He’s a sensory avoider, so the likelihood that he could make it more than 15 minutes was slim. But we had to try.

Last night came as a result of years of hard work. It came as a result of the investment of hours and hours of regulatory activities, hours and hours of helping him learn to communicate his needs, hours and hours of us reading and learning to try to understand the essence of who he is.

We are so grateful. Because for those few hours, we experienced connection and understanding with our son that we will remember forever. And hopefully, he will, too.

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