For kids with disabilities, attending school can be difficult. They might be bullied but even if other students don’t bother them, they may feel isolated from the rest of the students. For one boy, going to school became a new experience after a friend reached out to help.
Adam Potter is autistic, so when they moved to Stillwater, Minnesota, his parents worried about him.
He sometimes has a difficult time connecting to others. So, they wondered if in a new classroom he might feel lonely or isolated. But to their surprise, he instantly connected with another boy in his second-grade class named Trey Kruse.
Before the move, Adam found it difficult to connect with people and didn’t have any friends.
But when he met Trey, the two boys became instant buddies. In fact, for many years, whenever Adam was struggling — especially if he was starting to break down at school — his teachers would call Trey to come lend a hand.
“Trey would grab the back of his neck and they would just go cheek to cheek and they would just touch each other, and just doing that would just calm Adam down,” said Andrew Jurek, their sixth-grade teacher.
They met when they were in second grade, but now, Adam and Trey are seniors in high school.
They’ve remained just as close over the years. In fact, Adam’s mom said her son’s turning point was his friendship with Trey. It helped him make other friends, too.
“Because of Trey’s interaction with my son, he set in motion the ability for other kids to start forming relationships with my son,” she said. “All of a sudden, Adam was coming home and calling all these people his friend.”
It was a joyous development not just for the boys but also for their parents.
“Every day he’s trying to navigate this foreign language and trying to figure out what we mean,” she said. “Trey is that bright light that reminds him everything’s going to be OK.”
These days, their educational paths have diverged a little bit. Adam is taking special education classes at Stillwater High School, while Trey takes advanced placement classes and participates on the football and wrestling teams. Even though they don’t spend a lot of time together these days at school, they still enjoy one another’s company during their free time.
The boys like playing board games, exercising, and going out to eat together.
Adam has also taken part in a dance recital. Of course, Trey was there. He drove half an hour and watched the whole performance to make sure he saw Adam’s part.
Even though the boys aren’t side-by-side in classes anymore, they schedule meetings in the hall twice every day. They both look forward to them and when Adam sees his friend, he visibly beams.
“As a parent, I know that we can always count on Trey,” said his mother. “He has this character, that’s who he is.”
For Trey, it’s just this simple: Adam is his friend. They like one another and enjoy spending time together.
The boys are preparing to graduate soon with Trey heading off to college, which will be a challenge for everyone.
But Adam’s family is sharing the story of their son’s friendship to encourage others to reach out to those who have trouble reaching out themselves. It could just change someone’s life.
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