First Phone Call: Permission to Breathe, Granted

Week two. We have proof now. He is still the same boy we dropped off last week. He is as strong as we knew he was and so much stronger than the school experts – and I use that term loosely – said he could be. He is always capable of throwing us a curve but he will never let us down when it really counts. Everyone who knows him well knew he would rise to the occasion.  The voice is still a little flat, the answers short but sincere, and no discernible traces of angst. He is still wary, still not entirely comfortable with being so far away from home (I see the Scooby Doo he smuggled to camp tucked under his arm now and then, a telltale sign) but he sounds safe and brave and proud. And in the typical role reversal he has given me permission to be braver and prouder than I was a week ago, because I have as much confidence as I have ever had that he feels and is safe. These are rare moments, indeed, for in this world there are few places that provide both haven and meaningful activities for people with developmental delays, and the older they get, the narrower the choices become. So many people are working to expand the options and opportunities for adults with autism and I can see that I will soon be joining them in building a community of which we can all be proud. I still don’t know what it will look like but from the sound of his voice it appears, for the first time, truly possible.

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