I guess people who deal with special needs of any form can identify with this.
Often, it feels like having a superpower – the power to spot special needs where others don’t. I know it sounds overbearing, awful and sad.
Some people don’t have external, identifying “marks” of having a special need. But I can see them (it’s starting to sound all Sixth Sense even as I type).
I was out yesterday in a mall, and I was walking towards my destination in the mall, my eye moved towards a boy (perhaps 17? 18?) with a bright pink t-shirt with a slightly unfocused look. And in around 10 seconds, I thought, “he has autism.”
Then I observed a little more.
He was accompanied by a man and woman whom he resembled slightly – his parents I surmised. With them was another man, didn’t look like them at all, had (how do I write this in the most PC manner? Perhaps there is no way) slightly worn/not very expensive clothes on…I pegged him as their helper. He had a shopping bag in his hand, and I think the father asked him to give it to the boy. He did. The boy held it limply for a while, then dropped it, not realising, not caring. The other man picked it up, stayed close.
I stayed for a minute or two, and figured I was right.
And then I mentally wished them all the best, and felt glad that at least they had some help with the boy. It’s not easy, and frankly not recommended, to take care of a person with special needs with no extra help – especially if it’s within your means to get that help.