It was 10:15 on a Wednesday morning, and I was standing outside a coffee shop, holding back tears.

10 minutes earlier, I'd walked into the coffee shop with my 8-year-old son. We were greeted by the anxious looks of a half-dozen people quietly working on their laptops, wondering if my son was going to disturb their peace. They were right to worry.

I had pulled my son out of school three months before; it would be another year before we got his autism diagnosis, but it was already clear that his combination of anxiety, sensitivity, and giftedness made public school a poor fit. That day, we were on our way to the gym class that was part of our new homeschooling schedule. A pre-class snack was part of the routine.

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​Imagine everything you'd experience while strolling through a mall — the smells, the sights, the things to touch...

Now imagine all of those feelings and sensations times, like, a hundred.

It might sort of feel like this:

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