In less than two hours, I will be sitting in front of a group of second-graders at my children's school.
I will be talking to them about autism and, in particular, about Daniel. How do you talk about Daniel without talking about autism?
I will be attempting to explain to these seven- and eight-year-olds why they should see my son as different, and yet so much the same -- as in need of some assistance, and, yet, deserving of acceptance as an equal.
No small task.
I am excited and nervous.
Yes, they are "just" second-graders.
But they are my son's peers. They are the kiddos who see him every day.
They are the children who either will or won't ask him to sit with them in the cafeteria.
They are the children who either will or won't stand up for him when someone is treating him as "less than."
They are children who are currently forming their opinions, based on their experiences with Daniel, on what it means to be a friend to somebody who can't return friendship in traditional ways.
They are the children who have the power to educate not only their peers, but their families as well.
Let's hope I do right by my son today. I owe it to him.