I also have a son on the autistic spectrum who has surpassed all predictions made in the first few years on his life. I too cried during the second grade play when he sang and danced in Peter Pan. There was a time when even a walk to the store was an ordeal, and 30 minutes in a music class was horrific for us both.

I credit his progress not only to the therapists he has worked with, but also and maybe mostly to the friends he made when we relocated to an inclusive district, despite the advice of the developmental pediatrician who suggested the move would prove disastrous.

His friends have stood by him since the middle of kindergarten, when we first moved here. They have taken him by the hand when he walks away, they have tickled him into smiles, and stood on their heads (literally) to get him to look at them when he retreats.

My son is a charming, intelligent third grader who loves school and life. He plays the recorder and is learning to speak Spanish. It is a crime that inclusion is not an option everywhere for everyone.

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