A New Jersey father snapped a picture of one of his son’s worksheets at a back-to-school event, but it wasn’t until dad returned home and studied the photo that he realized something was wrong.
Bob Cornelius’ 11-year-old son Christopher is on the autistic spectrum. His teacher asked him to fill out a questionnaire detailing his favorite food, hobbies and television program.
Responding to the question, “Some of my friends are...” Christopher wrote, “No one,” according to the Daily Mail.
“Never have five letters cut so deep, and they weren't even directed at me,” Cornelius wrote in a Sept. 19 Facebook post.
He went on to explain the challenges Christopher confronted.
“My son is very smart and has a great sense of humor,” Cornelius added, according to My Central Jersey. “Every adult that meets him is drawn to him. However, because he needs the input, he will spontaneously flap his arms and make loud, guttural sounds from time to time.
"It draws a lot of attention in public," he added. "If you're not used to it, it's normal to feel embarrassed, as you will have all the eyes in the room upon you."
Cornelius explained that he often needs some time to understand what Christopher was saying, but not while interpreting his worksheet.
“It's clear to me that he desperately wants to be part of the group, but his challenges make it difficult for his peers to include him,” he said.
Cornelius referenced another story that gained national attention, when a football player sat down with a 6-year-old autistic boy for lunch because he noticed him sitting alone on Aug. 30.
“If that football player had not sat down next to that child, and if it hadn't become a national news story, that kid would still be sitting by himself today,” Cornelius wrote.
Christopher’s dad works as an attorney supporting families who have children with disabilities. However, he admitted there's no easy answer to his son’s problems.
“The only solution I can come up with is to share this with you and ask that you have a conversation with your kids,” he wrote.