I had kind of a sad experience at the park today. I took a boy with autism to the park to work and then play as a reward. We work on pragmatic language skills which encompasses how to approach and interact with peers. As the boy was heading toward the Merry Go Round we talked about how he would approach the other kids and ask if he could get on the Merry Go Round with them. He went up and did really well, asking "Can I get on too?" but with a different intonation than would be totally typical. The kids (who were with their mom) just stared at him and got off. The mom made a feeble attempt, telling her kids, "You don't have to get off". They didn't respond and she just looked at me and shrugged. Then, the boy who I was with noticed this and just turned and walked away. Right away the other kids hopped right back on the Merry Go Round. I thought it was so sad and hurtful. Anyway, I would just like to remind parents of typical children that facilitating interaction with a child with special needs not only helps that child learn and practice social skills, but also offers and opportunity to teach your children some humanity toward those less fortunate. These are life skills that will yield a benefit far greater than the lesson that I felt was conveyed to these other children, which is to just avoid and not respond to people who are a bit different from you. Although this was sad to see, I was proud of the boy I was with, because in this case he displayed stronger social skills than the other people that were at the park today.