A ride on a homecoming parade float – it’s kind of a big deal

I remember being in high school. Well somewhat. I definitely remember homecoming and the sense of pride and excitement for my high school’s football team. I was a cheerleader so I guess I played a part in creating and demonstrating some of that pride and spirit. I also remember helping to build our class float each year and then riding on the float in our homecoming parade. It was a special time.

Cody’s always struggled with parades in general. All of the sirens and horns are often too much for him to process leaving him feeling very anxious and stressed, which leads us to avoiding parades altogether. I have to be honest. I’m with him on this. I’m not really sure what the thought process is for those driving police cars and fire engines in parades. Those blaring sounds are simply loud and unpleasant and when you’re in such a close proximity, it’s hard to enjoy the parade in my opinion. For Cody it’s more than that, though. It’s hugely unbearable for him in a way he can’t fully express, but as his Mom I simply can’t force him to sit through something that’s truly painful for him. His teacher recently asked him if he wanted to ride on the homecoming float with his class this year and he told her yes. He came home from school that day and I asked him as well, wondering if he was aware it was a float in a parade, the word that usually brings about an immediate reaction with Cody. He told me that he didn’t want to ride the float in the parade. I was pretty sure it was because of his association of the awful loud sounds that he’s so used to when it comes to parades. It could have also been because it was after school on a Friday and there’s nothing more that Cody looks forward to than coming home on Friday afternoon. Extending the week by staying after school just isn’t really his idea of fun, no matter how you package it for him. I called his teacher to explain to her how much I would love to see Cody be a part of such a fun school event, but I also wanted her to be aware of his sensitivity and she shared that it’s usually just the class floats and one police car leading the way. Totally doable. Now to convince Cody how much fun it would be to stay late at school on a Friday afternoon. His teacher asked him again and told him she would ride with him, which is probably what put his mind at ease and made him agree to do it. Paul and I stood on the sidewalk along the parade route with camera in hand to see Cody’s inaugural ride. A ride with his classmates that meant so much more than anyone else watching could ever imagine or realize. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to watch as the floats made their way down the street with screaming teenagers excited to begin their homecoming celebration for the weekend, hoping we were on the right side of the street to get the best view of Cody. Then we saw his class’s float and then we saw him, with the biggest smile on his face sporting a peace sign with his fingers right along with everyone else on the float, yelling and cheering as they made their way down the street. He was truly enjoying himself and I felt warmth that for that small bit of time he was part of something. He was participating. He was a high school student riding in a homecoming parade. Just like everyone else. Autism be damned because it didn’t stop him this time.

P.S. See that shirt he’s wearing? It simply says the day of the week on it. I told you he likes Fridays.



  1. YAY for Cody. This is indeed a big deal.

  2. Wow! What a great day for your entire family. Great job Cody-a memory that will not soon be forgotten. Friday is a good day 🙂
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..BPA Strikes Again and This Time at KidsMy Profile

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