What does fear look like?

We’re all afraid of things. Some real – heart attacks; some distant – terrorists; some vague – the lizard brain’s resistance to change; some too real and terrible to ever really be acknowledged. This post is about that kind of fear.

Another parent (and here, “parent” is a term of art meaning a parent of a child on the spectrum) pointed me to this woman’s story of her son’s journey from diagnosis and early intervention to a special education preschool to transition to a general education environment. 

I don’t know what your reaction will be. But I can bet. I will bet that if you just have kids, you’ll think it’s vaguely sad and worry instead about having to drive your kids to play dates and manage soccer games and basketball practice and where they learned those terrible words that you never say. And I will bet that if you’re a “parent,” you’ll cry at the end, especially if your child is younger than this 11-year old. I did.


Why write this? Because what parents of our kids think about seems so fundamentally unknowable to our friends and family. Because we seldom talk about it to each other, to their teachers, therapists, to their doctors and lawyers. Because this is the stuff that no one on Facebook wants to hear about (and those who mention a tough time — well, only the parents really understand that it’s never just a temper tantrum, that every little outburst or hiccup carries all this BAGGAGE – a bundle of fears stuffed inside.