If you’ve ever watched from afar,
Maybe in the mall,
or the grocery store,
or the sandy blue beach.
Right away you noticed
a silent, internal rhythm.
Then, without warning,
screaming so loud it takes your breath away.
More than a tantrum—bigger than a fit.
Like the sun is too bright,
the automatic doors too loud,
the flurry of people in and out too painful.
A mother’s struggle
to calm thrashing limbs
and quiet the storm.
A father’s brave half-smile.
A brother’s rounded shoulders.
If you have witnessed this,
then chances are, you have seen someone with autism.
If you’ve ever talked to a complete stranger about
planes, or trains,
or the time you first saw a rainbow,
or the day your grandma died.
And it felt like the first real conversation you’ve had in a long while.
No small talk.
No hollow ring.
No meaningless banter.
Just the gritty, authentic truth.
Life, death, color, movement.
a quiet awakening.
A refreshing reveal.
your first kiss beneath a colorful sky,
a cross-country trip in the back of a train.
If you walked away
wishing for a few more minutes,
to remember the rainbow and the fire,
and your grandma and her sweet, sweet smile,
Then chances are,
you have talked to someone with autism.
If you’ve ever looked across a crowded classroom
and wondered how to reach the child with the downcast eyes.
If you’ve ever struggled
to bring goals written on paper
to life on a math worksheet.
If you’ve ever driven home after a long day,
remembering the one who sat alone during lunch.
Who cried loud crushing tears
because the pencil was wrong
and the line was too long.
If you’ve ever learned from the learner,
then chances are,
you have taught someone with autism.
If you’ve ever read the book
Going on a Bear Hunt
nine hundred million times.
not meeting developmental goals
why does he scream all day
full-time residential care.
If you’ve ever longed for the things
many take for granted.
If you’ve witnessed
in the face of oppressive anxiety.
Or observed the purest delight
in the simplest things
life can offer.
Candles burning brightly
atop a homemade cake.
on the first of October.
A favorite song on the radio.
If you believe in something bigger
than him, than you,
If your heart burns
as a thousand fiery suns,
paired in perfect harmony
with the wings of one hundred blackbirds
beating against the purple night sky.
If you have lugged hope around
like a bag filled with a million pebbles,
and felt the harsh sting of defeat.
If you recognize yourself in these words,
you love someone with autism.
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