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Autism: Building friendships

I’m happy to answer this question from Kirk, my friend and support coordinator from The Arc of Frederick County.

Dear Sarah,
We enjoy giving presentations at our local schools and would like to focus more on friendship and building relationships. How can we help students build bridges in practical ways?

From Sarah:
Dear Kirk,
I wish to let students know that friends are important to people with autism even though we seem uninterested in others. Can they please speak softly and not expect us to look into their faces? Also, we ask them to not see us as “not present,” but as real people who are thinkers. We can’t always get our bodies to do what we want, so sometimes we are not able to join in games or even in conversation. We do get lonely and appreciate not pity partners forced into spending time with us, but real friends who decide on their own that we are worth knowing. I also like computer friends because typing is something that suits me better than in-person friendships when I need to behave in a way that I find impossible.

Thanks to The Arc for helping us to be better understood.

Your old friend,
Sarah

2 Responses to Autism: Building friendships

  1. Mark Woolum January 30, 2018 at 5:42 pm #

    This is an amazing letter! I’d love to be your internet friend.

    • Sarah Stup February 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

      Yes, I do prefer computer to in-person because my autism scares away friends. ~Sarah

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