This is part of our series for Autism Awareness Month. We asked friends to share what Autism means to them. Submissions will be included from autistic children, autistic adults, parents, professionals, and friends.
I have always known my daughter was different. She was enrolled in day care, and seemed to enjoy herself; but did not play with other kids. She would get mad when they touched the toys she played with. If someone tried to play with something she had in her hand, she would walk away to the opposite side of the room. Once she cleaned up, put toys away, she would get very upset if any other children got the toys out to play with.
Then, one day, the strangest thing happened. We were getting out of our car, and I heard a small voice call out my daughter’s name. It was girl that used to be in my daughters classroom. Even though my daughter was older by a few weeks; she was socially/developmentally behind; all the other kids had moved up. This girl met us every morning and waited for us, so she could walk my daughter to her class. My daughter has since received her diagnosis of autism, confirming what I thought.
Two years later, the two girls are still best friends. We are hoping that the two girls will be in the same Kindergarten class in the Fall, but for different reasons. Her friends mom is hoping for a friend in the class. My daughter has advanced leaps and bounds, but still gets overwhelmed; my hope is that having her friend in class will help provide a semblance of normalcy, and reduce the meltdowns.
This picture is my daughter (in the pink jacket) at 2 years old, learning what it is like to have a friend. Someone who will always be there for her, who will be by her side; and in her heart forever.
-Submitted by Karen