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Dec
28

Finding Friends

By Kate Shields

Since I was diagnosed with autism, over three years ago, I have

attended a number of support group meetings at AUSM. Sometimes I have
seen parents of autistic people come to meetings, seeming to plan to
find friends for their kids. I wrote this for them.

One of the harder issues any parents have to face is that they cannot
find friends for their children—especially those on the autism
spectrum. I know this first-hand.

By Kate Shields

Since I was diagnosed with autism, over three years ago, I have
attended a number of support group meetings at AUSM. Sometimes I have
seen parents of autistic people come to meetings, seeming to plan to
find friends for their kids. I wrote this for them.

One of the harder issues any parents have to face is that they cannot
find friends for their children—especially those on the autism
spectrum. I know this first-hand.

When I was young—long before I was diagnosed as being autistic—I felt
lonesome and left out by people around me. So our Mom begged my
younger sister Mary to share her friends with me when they came to our
house. Mary did let me hang around with them at times, but she
resented it.

Once we were adults Mary pushed me out of her life; I saw her at
family events, but mostly from a distance. And I never understood why
she avoided me. Luckily I developed my own social life once I reached
college.

Fast forward to 2011, when Mary was dying of cancer as I was being
diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 61. Mary was too frail to
participate in my diagnosis, but I finally got an explanation of her
treatment of me after she had died. I wish I could make it up to her
now.

I am sharing this story with other Aspies and their parents, etc., in
honor of Mary and our Mom. I suggest that Aspies visit "target rich"
environments such as support groups and classes, where they might find
their own friends. Because only they can make friends for themselves.

I can't change the past or apologize to my sister, but maybe I can
help make life easier for younger folks on the spectrum.

Mom would approve.