My Son With Autism Does Not Feel Alone on Stage
This story has been published with permission from the author’s son.
Alone digging in the mulch underneath the slide at his daycare playground, overwhelmed by language and sensory overload.
Alone at recess standing by the door of his elementary school, fearful of thunderstorms, bugs and bullies.
Alone at the eighth grade dinner dance, nervous about making a social blunder around the “cool” kids.
Alone in the line waiting to enter the homecoming dance at his high school, unwilling to take a social risk and ask to join friends, because risks for him have not paid off in the past.
Together on a high school stage surrounded by kids who share a common interest, so he does not feel overwhelmed by the teenage slang or scratchy costumes.
Together backstage with cast mates preparing for the upcoming scene, there is no fear as he hits his mark and his notes every single time.
Together at rehearsals, during tech week, and greeting friends and family after the show, where he takes social risks and does not fear a social blunder because in this crowd, he is not just accepted, he is respected.
Now that the show has finished its run, he may go back to alone, but for months he was together with his peers, feeling a sense of purpose and belonging on that stage, in the choir room and in the dressing room, with an incredible group of kids.