I scanned the crowd of excited kids and anxious adults. There were too many to count. Too many to be out so early on a bitter cold Sunday morning. The wind whipped as we waited for the race to begin. Not only was it Norrin’s first New York Road Runners Kids Race, it was his first race with ‘typical’ kids.
There was music blaring. Kids laughing and chatting. Parents gossiping, running in place trying to keep warm. There were cops and volunteers with their bull horns, whistles and walkie talkies. And all I kept thinking was, could my son do this? What if Norrin ran away? What if he got lost in this crowd? I cursed myself for not thinking of bringing his ID necklace.
The kids were divided by age groups. Norrin was with the seven to nine year-olds and among them, he stood out. It is only among Norrin’s typical peers that autism is painfully obvious. The other kids are waiting with their friends, while my husband, Joseph, and I stand on either side Norrin – each of us holding a hand. Praising him for his “good waiting” and explaining the instructions of the race.
I turned to Joseph, “Maybe Norrin should run with the five to six year olds?”
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