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To the People I Trust to Care for My Son on the Autism Spectrum

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There he was near the front while his school friends danced and clapped on stage. I saw my son sitting close to a class teacher’s assistant (TA), touching her face just like he does to me, his arm coming up and draping around her shoulders. She talked to him in hushed tones and smiled, reassuring him.

Another time, on sports day, I saw him as he sat on the grass bobbing up and down, flapping his hands and squealing. Then he looked at his teacher and smiled one of those beautiful smiles that takes you miles away.

And there was that time his personal assistant (PA) brought him home after an afternoon respite trip out, and as she walked back down our path, my son blew her a kiss.

I feel happy to catch these moments — and relieved.

My son can’t speak. He can’t tell me his favourite TA or about the time his teacher calmed him when he was anxious or the game his PA played that made him laugh. He can’t tell me if someone hurts him. I have no choice but to trust these people with my child. I have to trust they will learn his ways and know what his eyes are saying.

So how do I know if they are treating him like he deserves? Well, the answer is I don’t — not until I catch that time he drapes his arm around one of them or gives one of those smiles. Then I know he’s OK.

I feel relief flood through me, reassured that he seems to trust and love them. I take his lead because he knows more than me.

So thank you to the ladies who care for my son, for supporting him when he’s not with me.

Follow this journey on Nichola’s blog.

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Originally published: November 1, 2016
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