A touching post by the father of an autistic son addressed the loneliness that children with autism suffer. The post was so poignant in its description of what young Christopher Cornelius has to go through, and so raw in conveying his father Bob’s emotions, that it soon went viral with thousands of shares.
Christopher is Bob Cornelius’ youngest son. The 11-year-old child has autism and finds making new friends to be a challenge. When Bob attended the open house to celebrate Christopher’s beginning of a new school year, he saw one of the child’s assignments displayed on the the wall. What he saw was heartbreaking.
The assignment asked the young students to answer a series of questions about themselves. In the space for an answer to who some of his friends were, Christopher had written “No one” in a children’s scrawl. Bob snapped a picture of the assignment and included it with his touching post.
In his post, Bob referenced a story about a Florida State football player who was given massive media coverage for his decision to have lunch with an autistic young man that was eating by himself. Bob mentioned that when the football player sat down he did not know the other boy was autistic. Someone snapped a pic of the young men having lunch and it was shared all over the Internet. In Bob’s opinion, the beauty of the photo was that it captured a real moment and was not staged. After that day, the boy no longer sat alone. The viral photo had made him popular and now he had friends to share lunch with.
The concerning part of this for Bob was the question of where these newfound friends had been before the young man became an Internet celebrity. He had to wonder if the lunch with the football player had not gone viral, would things be the same? His conclusion was that the young man would still be eating lunch by himself.
Despite his harsh realizations, Bob Cornelius is forgiving. He states that many people in society have not been taught to reach out to others that are different. Bob was mainly addressing the failure of parents to teach their children properly. He even admitted that he might have also failed to teach his own son if he were not autistic.
Bob went on to explain that Christopher’s brothers have had friends over to spend the night many times, but that Christopher has no friends to ask. He has even asked his father if he can have one, but when Bob asks him who he would like to invite the young man is silent because he has no friends to ask.
Bob spent the remainder of his post describing Christopher’s wonderful qualities, and he concluded with a plea for parents to help their own children learn to embrace those who are different. Bob also expressed his frustration at not having an answer that would help Christopher understand why some regard him differently.