Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 2 - Page 52

“We may socialize differently, but the important thing is that it works for us and that we’re very happy to be friends!” How We Met Chloe: Lydia and I first met in July 2011 after I reached out to her via her blog, Autistic Speaks. I had been a reader of Autistic Speaks for a few years but did not comment much. Finally, a post Lydia wrote prompted me to comment on her blog, asking her to either email me or give an address to which I could email her. Then we began emailing each other, and our friendship took off from there! We then began chatting on Google, video chatting, became Facebook friends, started texting and finally met in person! Before I knew it, Lydia told me she was going to come to my hometown to be with me for my 21st birthday! Lydia: I can still go back and see those early blog comments! Once we had chatted one evening, it was like we had been friends for years. We first met in person at a conference in July of 2013. I had backed out of advocacy for a while due to health issues, and I only went to the conference to meet her, but I became totally hooked on the presentations and amazing spectrum advocates that I dove back into writing and speaking and haven’t stopped since. I have Chloe to thank for that! What We Have in Common and Enjoy Doing Together Chloe: Lydia and I have many things in common; we both enjoy arts and crafts, card making, Facebook, advocating for autism, writing, the color pink, Hello Kitty, and Disney to name a few. We don’t get to be together very often, but when we are, we like to hang out, talk, and enjoy each other’s company. 52 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses Lydia: Since Chloe hit all the important ones, I’ll mention that we also have sensory and communication challenges in common. I love when we are together because I never have to apologize for needing a break or even explain it. I think we get along well because we both love writing and advocating, but we both tend to seem younger than our actual ages and still enjoy typical kid stuff. It’s really nice to be able to share that quirky combination with someone who doesn’t just get it but joins in with me on both aspects. Our Friendship is Not So Different from Neurotypical (NT) Friendships Chloe: Our friendship, in my opinion, really isn’t that different from NT friendships in some ways as nowadays even NT individuals have friends that they mainly talk to and stay in touch with via social media due to the fact that they may live long distances from each other. This is true of our friendship. One way our friendship may differ from NT friendships is that we knew we were going to be best friends before we even met. Another way our friendship may differ from NT friendships is that when we are together, just being there together is enough for us. Lydia: I like that we can interact and communicate in whatever way feels natural in any given moment, whether it’s the way we talk about two totally different subjects at the same time (but we’re listening!) or being very clear about what we need. Talking online for so long (two years) before we met meant that we both had the chance to communicate in the way that works best for us and got to establish our friendship through typing. I think we even knew each other better when