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Sixth grader writes compelling essay about friend with a condition similar to autism

by Dawn Grosvenor

Kendall and KatieKendall Hazen and Katie Fahey met in their middle school science classroom, and it’s almost as if they were destined to be friends. Katie has a condition similar to autism, and Kendall knew from the first day of class that she wanted to get to know her.

In an essay that Kendall wrote for a writing contest put on by the Autism Society of Wisconsin, she talked about her bond with Katie, why she’s lucky to have her as a friend, and what she appreciates about her.

Kendall recalled Katie’s challenges, like getting used to a classroom full of unfamiliar faces, being unwilling to participate in gym class, and taking a long time to try something new. But she focused on Katie’s many strengths too, like how she’s a good listener but can also talk nonstop, her fascination with the water fountain, how she gives high-fives to everyone after class, and how she’s become less anxious about to trying something new.

“I also love [Katie] because she is not the typical middle school girl, and I'm not saying that because she has Autism.” Kendall wrote in her essay’s concluding paragraph. “I'm saying that because she doesn't care who likes her or if she's pretty or who she hangs out with. She is just herself and she has taught me some valuable life lessons. Such as: to just be me, not to be concerned with what other people think and, to value and accept people for their differences. I hope I'm her friend forever.”

Kendall’s compelling essay about her cherished friendship with Katie ended up winning first place in the contest for grades six through eight.

For more on autism, girls, and adolescence, check out the resources below:

Asperger's, Autism and Girls DVD: Understanding and Appreciating the Female Perspective Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About Autism: What Does It Mean to Me? : A Workbook Explaining Self Awareness and Life Lessons to the Child or Youth with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s

Find more resources in the Future Horizons book store.

Photo courtesy of GazetteXtra.


Way to go! I have a son with Autism what gifts they are to all. Bless your heart!