If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
— Dalai Lama
When her son Daniel was 13 years old, Debra Poneman signed a consent form allowing him to attend an eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C. The plane ride, the cool hotel with a swimming pool, and how they were going to sneak into the girls’ rooms was all Debra remembers Daniel and his friends talking about for weeks leading up to the big trip.
Two nights before the scheduled departure, Debra attended a parents’ meeting at which the travel itineraries were distributed and the hotel roommate assignments were announced. She learned that Daniel would be rooming with an autistic boy named Ricky, along with Ricky’s ...