Is your child invited to all of the birthday parties? Do people invite your child over to play at their house? Is your child always talking about their BFF?
Does your child eat alone at lunch? Has your child ever told you that they play alone at recess? Can your child name one friend that they have?
When Sydney was younger she played alone a lot. I had to teach her how to play with others. She would follow the children and try to be a part of the game. But because of her speech delay, it was frustrating for all of us. Sydney never had a friend. She had Harrison, she had her cousins, but not a friend.
The fact that she has autism didn’t bother me. It was the reality that she may never experience and know the meaning of a true friend that depressed me. When we moved to Delaware, the children at her elementary school were aware of autism.
I was excited when Sydney would tell me the names of her friends. Her teachers would tell me how she would walk through the halls saying, “Hello, my name is Sydney.” Just hearing that was a huge accomplishment for us.
Hailey and Sydney have been best friends since the 4th grade. Hailey is great with Sydney. She knows what activities Syd likes to do. Hailey is patient and a blessing from God. I was glad that they had two years together in elementary school. When it was time for middle school, the girls went their separate ways. But that didn’t stop them from remaining friends.
Not only is Hailey Sydney’s friend. She is also an advocate for all kids. Hailey still takes out the time to visit with Syd. They bake cookies, paint, and polish their nails. All of the fun things that girls do. But there are no strings attached. Hailey is Sydney’s friend because she chooses to be her friend.
I am forever grateful that Sydney has experienced the true meaning of friendship.