Since Alex was diagnosed, I sometimes find myself playing a little game out in public. I look at all the children running around and try to spot the other children on the spectrum.
With odds like 1 in 88, math suggests that there must be several autistic children living in our neighbourhood.
I watch for the subtle signs: the child staring off into space while he plays, the one endlessly running a car back and forth, the child talking to herself as she repeats dishwasher detergent commercials.
I rarely ask for confirmation of my guesses. It would be more than a little rude.
But sometimes I'll catch an independent confirmation. A little puzzle piece ribbon pin attached to a bag or swag from Autism Ontario.
Then I can look at the other parent's eyes and give a little smile and nod. We recognize our fellow troopers in the field, sharing a bond no parent of a neurotypical child can ever completely grasp.
And we walk away, knowing we're not alone. Which makes the battle just a little bit easier.