At the end of a school day, I was asked to join the autism unit and help put their students on the bus. It had been four months since I had subbed in this unit. I don’t know that any of the students recognized me, but I did them. One of the youngest ones who has no verbal skills came up and grabbed my hand. She had one mean tight grip! I didn’t pick her to walk with, she picked me. Why? It’s beyond me.
She was slower at walking than the others. After she would take so many steps, she would bend down, almost plop down on the floor. I didn’t rush her though. It was a blessed privilege to walk with this child who couldn’t say a word to me but she could smile and squeeze my hand.
We are far apart in age and on the spectrum, but it is the same spectrum. Some of the traits she struggles with I struggle with too. No one really knows what autism is like except those who are on the spectrum. And, those like myself who are, cannot possibly explain it. That is true of any disorder.
When it came time, I wasn’t ready to put the little girl on the bus. As I watched the bus roll away, I couldn’t help but wish the walk to the bus had been longer.