On Wednesdays the kids go to therapeutic dance class. There are four in the class, including Seth. One boy about Riley’s age jumps and flaps when he gets excited. The other girl seems very intelligent, but she processes things a bit more slowly than the others.
The boy who appears to have autism loves dogs.
He loves the idea of dogs. He reads about them, and talks of them, but he’s never been brave enough to pet one. He longs to, but can’t bring himself to do it.
Today, Jingle was in a “down” on the floor before class. Two children were petting Jingle and the boy approached. He took a step forward, then stepped back. He took a step forward again, and then back. He was almost rocking, first toward Jingle, then away. He inched closer, with his hand held out.
Jingle turned her head to look at him.
He was all concentration. Such courage.
“Don’t move Jingle!” he cried.
She shifted her head and he lurched back.
“Don’t move.” he whispered again.
Jingle turned away from him to look at the other children who were doting on her.
The boy shakily stretched his arm forward and down, and with two fingers, he touched Jingle’s backside. As fast as his fingers swiped her fur, he pulled away.
He and his mom shared a huge grin, and then he scampered off toward the bathroom saying,
“Now I have to go wash my hands.”
His mother told me it was the first time he ever touched a dog.