As human beings, there’s something we universally desire, crave like food or water: companionship. Someone with whom we can walk life’s path. Someone who knows us yet loves us anyway. Someone who understands. Someone who cares. The drive for relationship is seated deep within our core, though we may deny it in our moments of pain, loneliness, and heartbreak. Sure, we can survive without other people, but we can’t thrive without them.
Those who don’t understand autism may not believe this is the case for those on the spectrum. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. One little girl with ASD demonstrated reality in a way that was equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.
In late September, 7-year-old Molly-Raine was tasked with writing a note as a homework assignment. When edited for spelling errors, this is what she came up with:
WANTED: A FRIEND. Someone who understands me, knows I have autism, smiles all the time, sees me coming when I’m sad.
With her permission, her words were shared on the internet. According to her mother, “[Molly] thought it was a good idea [to share it] because someone might read it and tell their child about autism.”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 23, 2015
Her mom was also impressed and proud because Molly completed the assignment independently; allegedly, that’s something she struggles with, perhaps because she has ADHD. However, her achievement makes sense to me, being someone who also has ADHD. When those with the disorder are intent on something, they can develop a superhuman ability to hone in on it.
And to me, that’s what really makes her story so beautiful and heart-rending: the fact that she did her work by herself—when that was not the norm—may be a sign that she desperately wanted to voice the words she wrote, that they came directly from her heart. Perhaps she was expressing what she wanted more than anything: love. Friendship. Understanding. Warmth.
Surely we can all relate to that.
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.