My Autistic Son and His Friends

My son has friends. Two of them.
I’m not sure if I can convey how much that means to me.
They wait for my son to arrive. They greet him at the door with a hug and a cheer. They hold his hand. They lead him. They talk to him.
And they sit by him.
These are his friends.
I do not have autism. In fact, I know very little about it. But I do know my son.
He is 13 years old. He has blond coarse hair. His eyes are hazel. He hates to be rushed. He loves chaos. Until he doesn’t.
He doesn’t say much verbally. Most people think he isn’t listening. Or that he can’t communicate. But it’s actually the opposite.
He communicates in so many ways. A look. A smile. A scowl. The flap of a hand.
But you have to listen. To really listen. With more than your ears. And not everyone really gets that.
See people get impatient with him. They want everything to be fast and easy.
Not these two. They join his world.
I am so thankful for them.
As a mom, I’ve prayed and hoped for someone to sit with him. Besides me and his dad and his siblings.
Someone to listen and simply be there.
Every day he tells me their names. Although he can’t say the word in full so it’s just the first letter of each name.
And just yesterday, he text me….
Peyton and Dexter Friends Come Hang.
I know it looks different. But it’s just as amazing.
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.
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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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