Bob Cornelius was attending his son’s Back To School event. He was meeting with teachers and looking art the children’s work posted on the wall when he found his son’s. He snapped a picture with his phone, intending to look at it later. The wall was filled with cute artwork and cards from the other kids in the class, listing favorite sports and interests.
But when he got home, he noticed that in the space that was designated for friends, Christopher had simply written: “no one.”
For those of you who don’t know, my youngest son, Christopher, is on the autistic spectrum.
Never have five letters cut so deep, and they weren’t even directed at me….it was just an overly simplistic statement that spoke volumes. Usually, I have to figure out what Christopher is trying to say, as his manner of speaking is very straightfoward; very black and white.
This time I did not.
Christopher’s brothers have had many, many sleepovers over the years, obviously in front of him, and it has not gone unnoticed.
“Can I have sleepover?” Christopher has asked.
“Sure, buddy….with whom?” As a response, he would flap his arms instead of answering. He didn’t have an answer because he didn’t have a name. Because he didn’t have a friend. He’s never had a friend. Ever. He just turned eleven. And because he’s had no friends….there was no one to invite.
The only solution I can come up with is to share this with you and ask that you have a conversation with your kids. Please tell them that children with special needs understand far more than we give them credit for. They notice when others exclude them. They notice when they are teased behind their back (a lot of times “behind their back” is right in front of them because they think the ‘different’ child doesn’t understand). But mostly they are very much in tune when they are treated differently from everyone else.
This dad’s plea for children on the autism spectrum has gone viral, and for good reason.
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