PETER GERHARDT TELLS the story of his friend Tony, who was 55 years old when he got a crash course in the condolence hug. Tony, diagnosed with autism as an adult, had lived all his life under the same roof as his mother. Then she died.
The funeral marked the first time in his life that Tony had been placed in the category of “the bereaved,” and, as he mingled among the other funeral-goers, he learned that people in his position must be prepared to accept some intense and lingering hugs. He handled it fine, observing how his brother was responding to the same sorts of approaches, and comprehending that the people doing this were trying to help him not feel sad. Then he went home, hugged his neighbor, and nearly got arrested.That is from a very interesting article on autism called Autism's First Child. HT: @autismcrisis.