Tomorrow, my son is graduating from college. I’m very proud of him and all of his accomplishments and will be cheering him on as he accepts his diploma. However, he isn’t the only young man I’ll be cheering on tomorrow. You see, one of my son’s best friends will also be walking across the stage to accept his own diploma. A friend with autism.
I’ll call him Ted (not his real name). When I saw Ted for the first time, I could tell something was a little different about him. He was performing on stage in a band in which my son was also a musician. Ted looked different. A little disheveled, it was almost as if he were all alone, playing the bass guitar and losing himself in the music.
Later that year, I heard my son begin to talk about Ted and how some people and at least one adult leader at the university were not begin fair to Ted. I guess you could say Ted was being singled out as being different.
Ted didn’t make it known that he was on the autism spectrum. Why should he? He was a college student like everyone else and he was determined to get his diploma and tomorrow, he will!
College hasn’t been easy for Ted. Social interactions were tough. Friends (good friends) have been few. However, through sheer determination, Ted will walk across that stage tomorrow and accept his diploma!
Why am I sharing this with you? It is because I want to share a story of hope.
Not every child with autism will be able to go to college and achieve what Ted has achieved. However, if you have a son or daughter that has been diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum, don’t ever stop dreaming. They may just achieve more than you can ever imagine.