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Fire In My Eyes

Yesterday my son lost his very last baby tooth. A major milestone. I may have gotten a little misty-eyed. But this doesn’t mean he’s growing up *too* fast. Well, he may be remarkably tall, especially given the smaller stature of his parents. And he has made a huge amount of progress academically and socially in the last couple of years. But he’ll always be different from his peers, and, unfortunately, more vulnerable. He is far too trusting. The kid doesn’t have a shred of wariness about him (quite the opposite of me. Even at a young age I was anxious and always plotting escape routes wherever I was). Particularly alarming when awful things happen way too close to home. A recent headline from a nearby part of our city gave me pause: Autistic teen befriended, betrayed and beaten. “The St. Paul 16-year-old was allegedly lured into an bloody attack. As the case proceeds against three adults and two teens, officials ask why.” The executive director and CEO of the Autism Society of Minnesota was quoted as saying “the vulnerability is that they don’t sense any immediate risk or danger, and this young man thought he had a new friend.” My heart goes out to that boy and his family. And I recall another horrifying attack a few years ago, also in St. Paul, involving an even younger boy with autism and a sexual predator.

All of it makes me want to keep my boy nearby at all times, in a bubble. Not the most realistic of plans. Instead this latest incident prompted me to check in with our special ed teacher today. She reassured me that the speech therapist and social worker at school periodically provide lessons with a focus on strangers and safety. I’ve asked for copies of the worksheets that contain scenarios of both safe and unsafe stranger interactions, so I can reinforce those messages at home. Hopefully I can get through to my sweet son and keep him safe.

Chelsea and Parker


  1. Heather wrote:

    Reading that article made me feel sick. I can’t even imagine. I would want to keep my boy nearby and in a bubble at all times too! In fact I already want that with Wes, heh. I think the realistic steps you took were great though. Parker is really lucky to have you.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
  2. Sharyn wrote:

    I have no words for what happened.

    But in more posi news, Parker’s teacher followed through and sent the materials home in his backpack yesterday. I’ll be looking through those this weekend and figuring out ways to frame discussions with him.

    Friday, January 21, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

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