Healthy Living

A Story of Friendship Made Stronger by Autism

Advice for the future

Like many people on the spectrum, Mason has to step outside of his comfort zone to attend a party. He chose to do so for Ian’s graduation party, and received this piece of advice from his best friend, “Mason, when you start your new school, I want you to talk to people and make lots of friends. I know it may be scary but if I hadn’t talked to you back in sixth grade, I wouldn’t have known all the great things my best friend has to say.”

A bit more concise but with just as much heart, Mason had similar advice to give to his friend a few weeks later. “Ian, I want you to talk to people. Make new friends.”

Ian left for Wisconsin Lutheran College, and hopes to either become a professional baseball player or work for the Chicago Cubs as a marketer. Mason started an adult transition program in Orland Park, Illinois, and has the goal of becoming a train engineer.

The friendship helped to define the ideal meaning of the term for both Ian and Mason. Both were asked to define what a good friend is.

Ian answered, “It’s looking beyond differences. It’s accepting each other and being there for each other, being supportive.”

Mason’s answer was much shorter. He repeated the question out loud twice, “The definition of a good friend? The definition of a good friend?” then gave a one-word answer: “Ian.”