I realize now that I won’t always be able to protect my Autistic son.
We arrived at Jacob’s school as usual. Jakes has this thing where he absolutely has to follow these set of lines on the floor. To him, they’re arrows that he relies on…. A sort of roadmap that leads him and directs him to different classes.
One of our IEP goals is to help him safely and independently navigate the school grounds. So, as usual, I follow a little ways behind him (just in case).
Once he reached the cafeteria, things were not the norm. They closed the stadium, which means there are kids in every direction when we entered the building.
Jakes following the lines of the floor— bumped into a student who was bigger than he was. And the student was not happy.
Twice the size of our son, squaring up to him quickly by the teenage yelling “wtf?!”
I reached them as quickly as I can, and fortunately, a teacher immediately saw what happened and walked over before I could get to them.
It was then that I realize I can’t always be there to protect him.
Jacob is a non-speaker. He can’t say “I’m sorry.” Or “Excuse me. I didn’t mean to bump into you.”
So he does what he always does when stressed, covered his ears, but continued following those lines with me closely after him.
High school is new territory for us, and I realize we’ll continue to navigate new terrain with every season.
And I find myself especially thankful for the helpers. In every school, we introduce Jacob to as many staff members, police officers, security team, and curious students as we can… because we can’t always be there to protect him or look out for him.
And we’re so grateful to the helpers, protectors, those who could look away but don’t.
Mamas. Build a community around your Cubs.
Share with as many people who would listen to your child. You’re spreading autism acceptance, and creating a community of people who will care for your child and look out for them.