A Friendship Blossoms

NicholasDanielFriendship2 (1)

Autism can be hard to understand especially for a toddler.

All my son wants is just a relationship with his older brother, who up until a few months ago wanted nothing to do with him.

Two boys with completely different personalities: Nicholas who is laid back, keeps to himself, quiet (most of the time), and has autism; and Daniel who is outgoing, social, independent, strong willed, and most of all, persistent.

For a long time I didn’t know if my boys would have a good relationship with each other.

I always knew something was there, though, because of how they’d react when the other would get in trouble.

Both are very sensitive and even though Nicholas wouldn’t want to play, he would still get upset when Daniel went in timeout.

Daniel doesn’t see his autism though.

He just wants to play with him and be like him.

He screams just like Nicholas when he gets excited.

That’s how Nicholas communicates because he doesn’t talk. But Daniel doesn’t get that.

Even if he did understand, it wouldn’t matter to him. He just wants to be his friend.

Nicholas is sensitive and likes his space.

He gets overwhelmed very easily when overstimulated.

He would move away when Daniel would try to play with him.

Daniel eventually moved on to his sister Grace.

Those two have a strong bond, always making each other laugh and playing together.

Even then he never gave up on his brother.

Then a switch suddenly flipped. Nicholas sees Daniel now.

He allows him in his space and lets Daniel touch him. Nicholas doesn’t move away anymore or get stressed out when he’s around.

They play together and laugh with one another.

Daniel loves making him laugh.

Nicholas communicates with him and gets his attention by touching him, making eye contact, requesting “more” with sign language, and getting really close to him. It’s truly amazing.

They’re both in school four days a week. Being around other kids have helped their social skills in different ways that has helped their relationship blossom.

Plus, being away from each other every day makes them miss one another.

Recently, Nicholas started playing in water, which was really difficult for him.

I know that watching Daniel have fun in the bathtub and play at the splash pad has a positive influence on Nicholas. He wants to try new things because of his brother.

Of course, like all siblings, they get annoyed with each other still.

Sometimes Daniel rejects Nicholas’s request to play, which is hard to watch. But it never lasts long. They love each other so much.

It’s so beautiful watching their relationship grow.

They share a room which has helped bring their friendship where it is now.

We used to have to separate them because Daniel was too loud and would wake up Nicholas. But now we have to separate them because they keep each other up from laughing so much.

I wrote something in July for Daniel’s 3rd birthday about not giving up hope on his brother.

A month later Nicholas finally came around. His perseverance paid off.

Their relationship is special.

I know they’re going to take care of each other because they always have.

Written by, Kate Anderson

Hi, I’m Kate Anderson. I live in Colorado with my husband and three kids. You can follow my blog at or find me on Facebook at or Instagram @thisspecialjourney1 

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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