Friendships: An ASD Success Story

For many years I have had social difficulties regarding friendships. Since kindergarten, I have worked tirelessly in speech therapy on how to make friends, how to keep them, how to start conversations, looking people in the eyes while talking, asking for phone numbers, etc. I expressed some of my social difficulties in this post. I was still without many friends until early February of this year.

I met a new group of students within the first week or two of second semester in my business management/ownership class. (I am not going to say anyone’s name in this post for confidentiality reasons). Together we started a business team consisting of four students. In my most recent IEP meeting around this same time, my business teacher mentioned that he felt that not only was I attracted to the team, but the team was attracted to me. This was just the start of what I call a true success story.

There is one specific person in the group that I have become really good friends with. I have rarely experienced a friendship that isn’t in a group setting (as in a group of people where everybody is friends). To be more specific, I have only had one other friend like this; he is an amazing, lifelong friend! So, I was unsure about how to feel regarding the whole situation. But I will say that this friend has become an amazing, hopefully lifelong friend as well!

We have done many things together! Besides having one shared class, we talk every morning and have almost nightly texts or FaceTime calls! Additionally, we went out for lunch during the past hour (longer than usual) lunch at my school, and I have even been to my friend’s house a few times. I have been learning in a clinical setting for many years about friendships and for the first time with a neurotypical individual, I am able to take what I have learned and apply it to “real life.”

The one thing that I value the most in our friendship is our honesty and openness to share things about our daily lives with each other. For example, I’ve been extremely open about my Autism and certain things that I may need. My friend knows about my IEP and a few of the accommodations that I receive (I don’t usually go into specifics like that). I never thought that I would be able to say this, but with this friend, I simply feel comfortable!

I had a hard time coming up with any difficulties to write about! Sometimes I don’t know when the right time is for a high-five, versus a hug, versus a fist bump, etc. I guess I missed the lessons on this topic! For those who know me well, I am an extremely affectionate person and usually go for a hug, but it is sometimes difficult to know if others think this is weird.

Knowing all of this, there is one thing that I am worried about… graduation! My friend is a junior and I am a sophomore. I’ve never had a friend that I am really close to go off to college! Even though this is a year away, I am still anxious and worried because it’s new territory for me. I am anxious about what it will be like and worried because I don’t want to lose contact! I know that college is busy and I wouldn’t want us to not have our amazing moments together!

For whenever my friend reads this, I want this person to know how much I appreciate our friendship. My friend is funny, smart, kind, patient, honest, and caring. I am so lucky to be able to have this person in my life and I just want my friend to know that. I think neurotypical people who have lots of friends may take them for granted, but I realize how special a good friend is. This is a true ASD success story!

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