There are several myths about autism. Not everyone with autism is like Rain Man, nor do they all flap their hands and exhibit "odd" behaviors. A particularly difficult myth is that people with autism do not have emotions. A person with autism may have a hard time expressing their feelings and showing their emotions as the "typical" person might, but that in no way means they do not have feelings and emotions.
Since being able to express yourself is a big part of building friendships, children and adults with autism are often seen as not being able to make or have friends. This is just not the case. It may take more work than for the "typical" person, but the friendships are there.
A friend is "one attached to another by affection or esteem" (merriam-webster). We asked a few of the students and adults with autism at ATC who their best friends are and why. These statements may not be expressed often by these students and adults, but they show that there is someone in their lives they have affection for and consider to be their best friend. And, honestly, a lot of these answers seem like the same reasons you and I might give for why our best friend is our BFF.
Daniel - Best Friends: Jereme & Bobby
"They always perk me up when I'm down. They understand my comments."
Lisa - Best Friend: Sara
"Because you say you did a good job and I appreciate it"
Ronal - Best Friend: Travis
Bailey - Best Friend: Chris
"We talk a lot, and he listens."
John - Best Friend: Marie
"Because I can count on you."
William - Best Friend: Shadow
"He tells me cool stories."
Chris - Best Friend: Sue
"Because he loves her"