Dad pens touching letter after autistic son says he has no friends

- A  New Jersey dad's heartbreaking appeal to parents of his autistic son's classmates has gone viral after a back-to-school project revealed the boy has no one to call a friend.

Bob Cornelius, of Rockaway, N.J., posted the letter Monday on Facebook after taking a photo of a worksheet that his son filled out at school. The worksheet asked students to list the members of their family, as well as their favorite food, sport, TV show, sport, song, and more. The sheet also asked students to list some of their friends— a section that 11-year-old Christopher answered with “No one.” It wasn’t until Cornelius returned home and looked at the picture he’d taken hurriedly that he realized what his son had wrote.

“Christopher's brothers have had many, many sleepovers over the years, obviously in front of him, and it has not gone unnoticed,” Cornelius wrote in the post. “’Can I have sleepover?’ Christopher has asked. ‘Sure, buddy....with whom?’ As a response, he would flap his arms and stim instead of [answering]. He didn't have an answer because he didn't have a name. Because he didn't have a friend. He's never had a friend. Ever. He just turned 11. And because he's had no friends....there was no one to invite.”

In the post, Cornelius urges parents to encourage their children to be compassionate and empathetic, and to share the post on their Facebook timelines to increase awareness. He also asks them to speak with their children and educate them about inclusivity.


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