Autism And Police: My Plan To Protect My Driving-Age Son (And Yours)
Huffington Post - 13 days
The nightmare ends the same way every time: I drive up on my house and see police cars with lights on. Policemen with guns drawn. I see a young man in a red hoodie lying face down. Bleeding. Shot. I approach the person on the ground ― cops yell to stop, but I push past them. I roll him over and pull off the hood... and it’s RJ, my teenaged son with autism.
Parents of a child on the autism spectrum have similar dreams. And nightmares.
Since my RJ was was diagnosed with autism in 2000 at age 3, our journey on the “autism express,” as we call it, has been filled with high-highs, low-lows and countless small wins.
On diagnosis day, or “the Never Day,” a pediatrician rattled off an exhaustive, hope-starved laundry list of things he would “never” do: develop language, attend a mainstream school, have meaningful friendships, play team sports, drive, self-advocate, live on his own or say “I love you” unprompted. It was a devastating and suffocating day.
When RJ was a toddler throug
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