I don’t think she took any comfort in her child being in a wheelchair instead of something in the DSM. The tragedy is that the mother was probably diagnosable and treatable, but help didn’t arrive in time.
I don’t need to see wheelchairs or guide dogs to identify someone on the Autistic spectrum. Once it is a part of your life, you recognize it everywhere. Eyes lock and there is a silent look of understanding that is exchanged by the families of those who have been there and those who are still struggling to find their way. Parents who have spent time in the NICU, cancer survivors, people grieving, there are so many unspoken words exchanged with just a look of empathy. Take your eyes off the ground and receive those gifts that are being offered.