National Autism Awareness Month

He Witnessed The Precious Moment His Daughter With Autism Made Her First Friend

"I never thought I'd get to see her make a friend."

April is National Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate and bring awareness throughout the month, we will be highlighting positive stories we love about people with autism, as well as the stories of their friends and families. 

For any parent, watching your child make their first friend is a special moment. But for one father, the moment was particularly meaningful as his daughter has autism and normally ignores people she doesn't know. 

The father, who recounted the heartfelt story on Reddit on March 27, described how the special interaction happened when he took his 12-year-old daughter Arwen to the park. Most days, she doesn't play with the other children there. 

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But that day was different as Arwen took interest in a girl named Ava who asked if she wanted to play.

The dad from Western New York wrote on Reddit, "I expected her to ignore the girl. Instead they played on the climbing wall and the slides (Arwen's favorite) for about twenty minutes. Arwen followed her to different playground equipment, and when she went down first she looked back to make sure the girl was coming."

The dad points out that this might not seem significant to most people, but to him, it was very special. 

"You have to understand that Arwen is 12 years old, and this is the first time she has ever interacted with a child that she doesn't see every day," he explained, "She even ignores most of her classmates. This was a huge deal for her."

And at the end of the playtime, Arwen even hugged Ava goodbye. The emotional dad said the sight of this had him and the teacher he was with tearing up as his daughter doesn't even initiate hugs with people she knows.

In the post, the dad also wrote a thank you to Ava's parents, despite not knowing who they are, for raising a child who did not treat Arwen any different than any other kid. He said, "Both the teacher and I thanked her for being nice to Arwen, and she looked at us like she had no idea what we were talking about. It was obvious that it never occurred to her to treat Arwen differently than any other kid. I think that was was got me the most. I never thought I'd get to see her make a friend."

After the story was posted to Reddit, user Mommabear4612 commented, "I personally know Ava and her parents. Ava is a beautiful girl, and has this ora [sic] that makes anyone who crosses paths with her, comfortable. I am beyond proud that you had this break through [sic], and please know that her mom has seen this and is so proud of her daughter. Faith in humanity has been restored with this little girl." 

The tender moment also made an impact on fellow Redditors. One wrote, "I work in the field of behavior analysis. My favorite part of my job is these spontaneous moments of beautiful friendship. Many people will never understand how wonderful something as simple as a good day in the park can be."

(H/T: Popsugar)

Cover image via Africa Studio I Shutterstock

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