Earlier in the month I wrote about the challenges children with disabilities have in making friends. Sadly, I look back over Ryan’s school years and remember that in those 12 years he was invited to two birthday parties of his classmates. For that reason I was truly inspired when I read about the eight-year-old boy with autism in Boise, Idaho, who began a movement with a friendship necklace.
The story began when Drew Elliott told his mom that he asked a bunch of his classmates to wear the other half of his BFF necklace. No one was willing. Fortunately, his conversation with his mom was overheard by a group of construction workers and they told Drew they wanted to wear one. However there was a catch. The construction workers would only wear a necklace if Drew made them himself. The word spread via social media and soon there were hundreds of people requesting necklaces. With over 2,600 likes, Drew’s mom said, “He truly feels that he has friends everywhere, instead of acquaintances.”
What can you do?
- Like his Facebook page Drew Elliott and Friends
- Contact Drew for your necklace and make a donation
- Host your own Friendship Necklace party
Most importantly reach out to a child with autism and let him/her know that you are a friend. Please read my earlier post to get ideas on how to encourage friendship between typically developing children and children with special needs.