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Challenge: Open Discussion

Chance of Autism

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If you’ve ever watched from afar,




Maybe in the mall,

or the grocery store,

or the sandy blue beach.

Right away you noticed

twitching legs,

dancing fingers,

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.

A family.

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.

In yourself,

a quiet awakening.

A refreshing reveal.

Grandma’s scones,

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.

Or Googled

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.

A hug.

A smile.

A conversation.

If you’ve witnessed

breathtaking courage

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.

Halloween decorations

on the first of October.

A favorite song on the radio.

If you believe in something bigger

than him, than you,

than this.

If your heart burns

as bright

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.

Then hope.






If you recognize yourself in these words,

these moments,

these pebbles,

this sun,

chances are,

you love someone with autism.

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