Whether it’s having someone to giggle with in class or a shoulder to cry on after a tough day, a best friend is a support system unlike any other. And when you’re a parent to a child with special needs, knowing your son or daughter has someone to hang out with can be a particularly huge relief.
3. “A typically developing teenager has befriended my 18-year-old daughter in a special way this year. They chat on Facecbook every afternoon and evening and send videos back and forth. Over the holidays, the young woman asked if she could come over to bring my daughter a present. They spent an hour in my daughter’s room laughing and talking (my daughter uses a communication device). It just melted our heart to hear them. Something so simple we didn’t even realize our daughter had been missing — a friend to giggle with.” —
4. “For the second year, our son has what I call his ‘classroom wife,’ Holly. She’s half his size and has this tiny little voice. But when my brute of a boy is out of line and she tells him to stop, he listens. I need to bring her home. She’s awesome.” —
5. “Our son, Blaine, who has Distal 18q, is best friends with his cousin, Noah. Noah makes sure Blain is involved in whatever is going on, whether it’s a movie or running around outside. Blaine is nonverbal and can only make baby noises. When Noah’s name is mentioned, he lights up, and when he talks to him or plays with him, he gets so excited.” —
6. “Just last Sunday I took my son to the pool, and after half an hour another mom arrived with her daughter. They both have similar disabilities — both in their 20s but function like preschool children. They took one look at each other and did not stop smiling ear to ear. They had the best time! —
7. “The moment my daughter stopped having to be a passive observer and was able to keep up physically with her peers. When I received this picture of her dancing with her friend, my heart was dancing, too.” —
8. “My 2-year-old with autism and sensory processing disorder is best friends with her 3-year-old sister. Their bond is like no other, and all the therapists have said it’s beautiful to watch how they connect and engage with each other. When my 2-year-old got close enough and kissed her big sister, my 3-year-old said, ‘Mommy, she kissed me!‘” — Melissa Cote
9. “My daughter was in a Special Olympics camp walking race. Because she didn’t understand what she was supposed to be doing, she stopped half way through and just stood there. Her best friend, also with special needs, stood up, walked to her, took her hand and led her across the finish line.” —
10. “My son, Finn, who has autism, was asked to be in a video the school district was making about kids with disabilities and how they are just like other kids. Each kid featured in the video was able to have a friend in the video with him. We asked a good friend of my son to help with the video, and when his mom was explaining the idea of the video to him, he said, ‘I didn’t know Finn had a disability!’ To him, Finn was just his friend.” —
11. “My son, who has autism, surprise ran into his best friend (also with autism) on a cold Saturday morning at the therapy clinic.” —
12. “At the moment my 5-year-old daughter, Josefine, tells me I’m her best friend. Recently, I was out shopping and they were giving out purple balloons for a charity event. Purple is Josefine’s favorite color, so I took one home and tied it to a toy on the coffee table. When she came home from school and saw it, she said, ‘This is the best day ever!’ and gave me a hug.” —
13. “When my son, who has Down syndrome, was in eighth grade, the band director suggested he join the marching band. It was wonderful, and he made lots of friends. One friend in particular was the head of the Color Guard — a beautiful, older and assured young woman. They were instant BFFs and have been since.” —
14. “My daughter, who is nonverbal, spent the day with her buddy, Ciel. She was all smiles when she came home with the ability to hand objects to us and put on her own shirt without prompting! This is huge for her developmental delays!” —
15. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” —
*Some responses have been edited and shortened.
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