I’m so so sorry to hear that. That’s utterly devastating. It is worth remembering that kids who desperately need routine have not had it — and that kids who need their peer group have not had it. All our social skills will be rusty, it’s a phase of re-entry. I’m so sorry for your loss. As the parent of a child without special needs, I really don’t know what you do to cope. Please, please, don’t take this amiss, but parents like us who have raised concerns are not just being chauvinist and insensitive. We had a birthday party for my son this past weekend at a place called Thames Young Mariners — we invited the boy who was diagnosed as autistic very young, and who has been a mate of my son’s. Here’s what happened — he was asked to pay attention to a safety briefing as we were all going kayaking. He ignored the instructor, make a racket, distracted all the other kids with a series of antics, and when she asked him for his name, gave a false one. A joke — but not so funny. She told him if he didn’t pipe down, she’s keep him on land. Fair enough. He quieted for a few minutes. We got into the water, one child fell out of his kayak. The disruptive child started hooting and shouting and laughing and batting at the child’s head with his paddle and actually tried to obstruct the instructor as she frantically paddled to reach the child who fell in. Again it was a game. But it wasn’t. All the others joined in as they felt it was funny. It wasn’t. Another mother and I were in the water and we helped with crowd control. Then there was a jump from a high dock. There was one boy who was a bit scared and who had to be coaxed to the edge. He stood there for about ten minutes debating whilst his mum and our instructor and another boy helped talk him through it. But the disruptive child climbed to the top of a hill, started kicking a ball at his head, crowing, and jumping up and down, inciting a whole hullabaloo. Other children told him to stop. Our instructor told him to stop. My husband told him to stop. Finally I marched up the hill, took the ball from him, marched him back down again, told him to sit on a bench, got down to eye level, and told him — loudly — to sit still and stay there. The shy boy finally made his jump but by this time he had already thrown himself on the ground sobbing and we all helped him back up. This was my son’s birthday party. Please understand, I am so sorry for your loss, I don’t know what you’re going through, but please, please try to understand we are desperately worried for our children too. For their safety, for their equilibrium. For their progress at school. I don’t know how his teachers cope. I don’t know how his parents cope. I don’t know how I would cope. But our concerns are not just the stuff of intolerance. They are genuine. I’m sorry for your loss.