Our Story

“We [Chelsea and Denise] co-founded Good Friend in 2007 because we saw a need we knew we could fill. We are mothers of children on the spectrum, now young adults on the spectrum. We watched our learners struggle to make friends with their classmates, and from other parents of children on the spectrum, we learned that our children were not unique in their struggle.

“As adults without autism, we have gone from advocates to allies, soaking up lots of information along the way about what it means to be autistic — especially in a world designed by the neuromajority. We know it’s difficult for classmates and colleagues to understand autism. But more importantly, we know how important it is for peers to see beyond the differences to find the similarities.

“So while we’re glad to tell you about all sorts of numbers we’ve tallied over the last 14 years of conducting autism awareness, acceptance, empathy training for staff and students in schools and beyond, we’d rather tell you …
  • Because we did a Peer Sensitivity workshop for Jack in 2nd grade, he went from zero play dates to four.

  • Justus waited until high school to get his first birthday party invitation but was so thrilled when he did.

  • When Camryn was brought onto the stage of her classmate’s year-end skit, the joy in her dance was electric.

  • David brought a job application to his friend he met ten years ago because we came to his class to talk about the strengths of his classmate with autism.

  • After engaging in a discussion about the social differences of autistic workers, a company’s disability employee resource group reconsidered how they’d invite neurodivergent participants.
“We are ready to partner with you to lay a healthy social-emotional foundation on which a culture of acceptance can flourish.”

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