The other night she came to me terribly upset. She was crying, and had been writing her feelings.
There is a boy in Sarah's class at school named Jonas who is autistic. He's being tormented by some of the "cool" kids in her class, and Sarah just couldn't take it any more.
Sarah has recently been very touched by a boy named Drew who is autistic. We were friends with the family when we lived in Idaho, and had done some respite care for him. We've been following his story on Facebook, and he's recently been having quite an adventure with friends.
Drew's mom is one of the most Christian women that I know. She is a devoted mother and friend, and has blessed many lives through her willingness to share the struggles, humor and hope of autism.
Sarah wrote a letter to her classmates, and then with Jonas' consent and her teacher's permission had the courage to stand before them and read it. (Then she was embarrassed because she cried in front of her whole class.)
Here it is in her own words. Sarah is my hero. (Some of her facts are shaky, but that's OK.)
Standing Up for Jonas
"My family used to babysit this kid named Drew. He broke my toys, threw tantrums and basically drove me nuts. What I didn't know is that Drew has Autism. Autism spectrum disorder, ASD, or normally, Autism, are terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. This can mean that people with autism can have difficulties with interacting socially, have trouble communicating, and sometimes it is hard for them to behave. Well, one day after we moved away, my mom told me a story about Drew. I'll tell it as best I can.
One day Drew went around in his class and asked kids, "Will you be my best friend if I make you a BFF necklace?"
All the kids said no. He went home after school and told his mom. His mom took him out to a restaurant. They ordered and Drew's mom told the waiter what happened. There was a group of construction workers at the restaurant and the waiter told them the story. The construction workers came over and said, "We'll be your best friend." Drew's mom posted it on Facebook and more than 300 people responded. All of them said yes. People helped make Drew bracelets and delivered them. I got one and so did my family.
(See pictures of us wearing our friendship necklaces below.)
Anyway, this isn't about Drew, it's about Jonas. Jonas also has autism. You guys didn't know that, but you still tease him. You avoid him, talk behind his back, mock him, and it's just totally cruel. You need to think about how he feels before you do anything to him. He's a normal kid, too. He's just misunderstood. You need to stop this teasing, or you'll make the rest of his school year miserable. So stop."
For more about Drew's life, find and friend him on Drew Elliott and Friends. As of today, he has 3,798 friends.
Sarah, we can't any of us do everything, but we can all do SOMETHING. Because of you, one more child in the world will know he had a friend.