In my son’s limited 12 (almost 13) years of life, there has been only one child who actually wanted and asked to have a “play date” with my son. That was in the fifth grade. I will never forget it. I actually received a call from that boy’s parents asking for a “play date” with my son!
This may not seem like such a big deal to anyone, but it is. My son is one of four boys. What differentiates him from his brothers? He has autism. While his brothers are constantly hanging out, getting together with their friends and socializing nonstop, my one son has always been on his own. Not alone, but on his own.
So, at the start of his seventh grade school year, when I was asked what I wanted for my child, it was easy to answer. I did not hesitate. I simply stated, holding back my tears, “I just want him to have a friend.”
In this day and age, finding true friends is difficult for a typical child amidst all of the bullying, peer pressure, and social stigmas. For children with special needs, it is near impossible.
There has to be someone out there is this big big world who would truly enjoy spending time with my son. Most kids at school and those that socialize with our family are kind and considerate to him. He is sweet. He is fun. He is smart. He is talented. He is easy to be with and enjoys everything. He would make a terrific friend.
I hope and long for the day when my special little boy tells me he has a friend, asks to have a friend over or tells me that he wants to go out with a friend. I will be sure to let you know as soon as that happens.
I truly believe that autism is not and should not be synonymous with being alone.
written by Kimmy Katari, mom of 4 amazing boys