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Middle School can be Brutal, Especially for my Autistic Son

Hallways lined with rows and rows of colorfully painted lockers. I never knew that something like this would strike such panic and anxiety in my Mama Bear heart.

When I was in middle school, those were some of the best years of my life. My biggest worries were how many Pound Puppies I could collect, or how big I could tease my bangs for my school pictures. I played clarinet in the band, ate French fries almost every day, and folded notes into tiny origami projects before passing them off to friends in the hallway between classes. I was smart, somewhat popular, and had a bunch of friends.

This year my autistic son started junior high. I knew his experience would be nothing like mine. For months, I dreaded the first day of school. I had mini panic attacks, thinking how the hell he would navigate going class to class, bumping his way through the crowded halls of rowdy kids, having multiple teachers who needed to learn his idiosyncrasies. What if he got lost? Would anyone help him? What if he had a meltdown? Would kids make fun of him?

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