Healthy Living

A Story of Friendship Made Stronger by Autism

A well-run school

Oak Forest High School is from where Ian and Mason recently graduated. Even the principal, Brad Sikora, was impressed by their friendship. “A lot of people have acquaintances or teammates but this is a true genuine connection. I think they'll be true, lifelong friends,” he said.

“There's research out there that says forming strong bonds, genuine relationships brings long-term benefits to both partners in a friendship,” Sikora continued.

The parents of the two boys agree. Marty Kalnins even publicly thanked the school board for their good work during a board meeting on August 15th. During the meeting he and his son also presented a plaque of friendship to Ian.

Oak Forest High School is one of many, but not enough, schools which try to diminish the social stigma of being neurodivergent. The school encourages interaction between the students of the typical and special needs classrooms and even sets up social activities with such a goal in mind.

Sikora continued, “we try to create for all students the least restrictive environment.”

But high school is not forever, and the two teenagers are heading into the real world.