A Guest Post by Emily Colson
Years ago the grocery store was the last place I wanted to go with my son with autism. Now, it’s the place I don’t want to leave.
I followed my son into the tiny grocery, his steps bouncing so high that I thought he might lift right off the ground. He dashed behind the counter and slipped off his coat so that everyone could see the store logo on his shirt. Max is so proud to put on that shirt in the morning, to wake up with purpose. It’s the same eagerness evident in everyone at Max’s day program, a true appreciation for the privilege of working. The other employees in the store burst into smiles as they welcomed Max to work. As I waved goodbye, I gave my son a huge silent cheer and a double thumbs up. I must have looked like one of those over-zealous moms at their child’s first kindergarten play.
Max’s teacher, Kacey, greeted him warmly and the two of them walked toward the refrigerators at the back of the store. Max loves refrigerators. He can identify any refrigerator—anywhere—by the brand, temperature setting, and fan system. He is like the CSI of appliances. I could see Max at the back of the store now holding up a bottle of cleaner and giving the first glass door a few sprays. He was focused, working so quickly that it was like watching a speeded up movie reel. I was mesmerized; I couldn’t leave. And there was Kacey, standing back just enough to let him soar.