Thanks to a group of students who studied here decades ago, Hogwarts has a pretty good support plan in place for disabled students. Once part of this plan is a support group for the autistic students. And Allura is a regular member of their group.
Every Tuesday after classes have ended, she goes to the classroom where they hold the meetings, and sits in her usual seat. She loves these sessions, mainly because she is able to talk to the other autistic students who she doesn’t usually interact with, and they all get to just be themselves without the presence of allistic people, whose odd looks whenever you stim can get rather irritating.
Allura is the first one in the room, so she takes out her wand and starts practising spells for her Charms homework. She is one of the best in her class, but she does have the habit of getting distracted by the beautiful pink sparks that come out of her wand. Still, it helps pass the time.
After a few minutes, Keith wanders into the room. A fellow seventh year, he is a Slytherin student she sometimes sits next to in Defence Against the Dark Arts, Keith struggles socially and often comes across as moody. But Allura knows he can be very friendly, just under his own terms.
“Hi,” Keith says.
“Hello,” Allura says. “How was your detention?”
Keith gets detentions a lot; his blunt attitude means he doesn’t get on with a lot of the professors. He shrugs his shoulders. “I’d rather not talk about it.”
He settles down on the other side of the room, manipulating his favourite stim toy: a green fidget cube.
“Fair enough,” Allura mumbles, and she goes back to her homework.
The next student to arrive is young Katie Holt, a forth year student from Ravenclaw house. She has a chewable necklace sticking out of her mouth, and gives Allura a brief wave as she sits down beside her.
In the last couple of years, Allura and Katie have become great friends. They may be three years apart and in different houses, but they still manage to keep up a strong friendship. They have a lot in common, and Allura sort of considers Katie a little sister. Not that she would tell Katie that; Katie would be horribly embarrassed.
“How has your day been?” Allura asks.
Katie shrugs her shoulders, tucking a strand of her long hair behind her ear. When she speaks, she doesn’t take her necklace out of her mouth. “Average, I suppose. I got a bit upset this morning when we met Thestrals in Care of Magical Creatures. Because… well, I can see them.”
Katie bows her head, wringing her hands together. Allura understands how that feels; she also lost her father, and she can see the Thestrals too.
She hopes Katie won’t get upset, because she is so bad when it comes to comforting people. Thankfully, Katie smiles and changes the subject, babbling about her trials for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.
“I’m going in for seeker,” she says, grinning.
Allura smiles. “I hope you get it. I’ve seen you flying, and you’re really good.”
Katie goes red, and Allura chuckles. She takes her own chewable necklace (it is shaped just like the Gryffindor lion; she bought it from the big joke/toy shop in Diagon Alley) out of her pocket and puts it in her mouth.
“Thank you,” Katie says.
As Allura and Katie chat, a few more students file into the room. Which means they are just waiting for…
“Sorry I’m late!” cries Professor Smythe, skidding into the classroom with a pile of books in his arms. His bright ginger hair messy from rushing about, the professor scans the room, noting which members of his group have turned up this week.
Professor Smythe is the Transfiguration professor, and also the head of Hufflepuff house. And he is autistic, something you can tell not just from his behaviour (he makes no attempt to pass as neurotypical, just like Keith), but from the badge he has pinned to his robes (it reads: Actually Autistic).
He smoothes his hair down as he sits at the desk, smiling at them all.
“Right, then,” he says, clasping his hands together. “How has everyone’s week been?”