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Mom's Corner: Making New Friends

Every mother deep down inside fears their child with autism will grow up lonely. You worry if society will love them back, treat him fairly, and make sure he is protected. Or if they will have at least one friend that gets it. "Get's it" meaning they will see past the labels of autism, the stigma and want to get know your child and develop a friendship. As they grow you see them go from only wanting to play alone to longing for others to accept and initiate play with them. It breaks my heart to think of Ralph being lonely.

He is a fun loving kid, who loves to run and play, loves the outdoors and loves swimming. His smile will light up a room and warm your heart. Ralph is very intune with his emotions. I have noticed on occasions when he is around other kids, he looks to engage them in play but is unable to verbalize it. In turn it causes him to be overlooked by typical kids. They will say little things like, "he can't talk, he's weird..." And I can hear my heart breaking. Kids are kids they assume being different is a bad thing, unless we teach them differently to understand just because someone is different or does things differently does not mean they are wrong.

Sometimes I will explain to the kids Ralph is on the autism spectrum and he learns a little differently and he is not ignoring you he just has trouble finding the right words to talk to them. I make it a game to teach Ralph a new word or saying and most of the time it works. My biggest hope is one day, he will find that special friend that will watch over him, love him and give him a genuine friendship that will last a lifetime.

I am raising Mackenzie and Ralph to be best friends. I want them to know no matter what we are family, we love one another, we protect one another and we are each other's best friend. The world we live in today is a cruel one, where the basic morals and random acts of kindness are the exception not the rule. I do not want others to make cruel assumptions about my son without getting to know the wonderful person he is.

I was planning his seventh birthday party and I always have it at a location in Warrenton, VA called the Warrenton Aquatic Recreation Facility (WARF) near my family which is over an hour and twenty minutes away from our home in Maryland. The reason I do this is because I know they are more than likely to attend if it's closer to them. As time drew near for the party I noticed quite a few people could not make it, and I began to feel so sad he would not have many kids there to celebrate with him. I cried internally because I want him to know just how amazing he is and how he is such a gift to those who know him. Long story short we had to move the date further out and the attendance to his party was overwhelming. Not only did Ralph's cousins attend, but his classmate from school and his Psychologist Dr. Jones and his kindergarten teacher Ms. Sell came out from Maryland to celebrate with us. We have been so fortunate and blessed to have so many good people as part of our lives.

However like most things in life there are no guarantees but one I do know for sure. God will always keep the right people in my family's circle. HE has never failed me, HE has always kept me where I needed to be not necessarily where I wanted to be. In hindsight there has always been a lesson learned because HE makes no mistakes. God will continue to watch over me and my family as we journey through this thing we call life.

Matthew 28:20, ESV …"I am with you always, to the end of the age."

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