When Little Man was starting school, I was already aware how different he was from his peers. We had no diagnosis at that point in time, but the writing was on the proverbial wall. Stuck in the back of my mind was the thought that at some point, the other kids would become socially aware, and would recognize how different he is, and that bullying would quite possibly follow. Years before it might happen, my heart was already breaking. When he was diagnosed PDD-NOS, ADHD, and ODD two years ago, that fear and heartbreak intensified. Now not only is he different, he has labels attached. And while the IEP he now has, and all the services he receives with it, is awesome, more fuel is added to that fire. The behaviors he’s been exhibiting this school year, well, they’re seriously not any help. I know I have enough to worry about without stressing over what *might* happen, I can’t seem to stop myself from preemptive protectiveness.
The first time I heard the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, I nearly had to pull the car over to the side of the road the tears flowed so quickly. I know she didn’t write the song for an autistic child, but the words could speak to so many people, so many situations. I’ve sort of taken it on as our own personal anthem. I know I need to be brave for him, as much as he will likely need to learn to be brave for himself. He will need to self-advocate. He will need to defend himself in all likelihood. He will need to speak up for his wants and needs.
He hasn’t yet realized that when I sing along with that song, I’m singing it to him (as well as to myself). I guess I kind of hope he will take it in by osmosis, that his subconscious will keep those words in him for when he needs them. I pray wholeheartedly he will never suffer bullying. But should he happen across some moron intent on giving him grief just because he’s not like everyone else, I hope he’s brave, and is able to speak out, speak up, and say what he needs to say.