Friendship Across Difference: 3 Tips for Befriending an Individual with Special Needs { by Brilyn Roberts • guest post }

I am only one, but I am still one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

These words by Helen Keller have a dual meaning for me as an advocate and friend to those with special needs. Just as I am one, capable of making a difference, so too are those whom God created differently.

My seven-year-old cousin, Silas, was born with microcephaly. He has his own unique talents and challenges. Spending time with him and the blessings I have received through friendships with others who have special needs has allowed me to learn a lot—and to understand the power of friendship across difference.

This has inspired me to share 3 tips I have learned through my experiences:

⇒ First, don’t fear!

Never hesitate to reach out and make a new friend.

⇒ Second, take time to get to know and appreciate the person.

Seek out your new friends’ strengths and be their cheerleader! For example, my cousin is amazing at shooting hoops—so we love to play basketball together.

⇒ Third, be kind and understanding.

Through your tone and body language, treat and talk to your new friend with respect. After all, kindness is a universal language!

When you make friends with those who are different, you will to learn to see people first and not their challenges…and reveal each person’s unique value and contribution to our world.


Brilyn Roberts is a book-worm, YouTuber, and recent Queen’s Court member of National American Miss Missouri 2018.

From the Gateway Arch to Cardinals baseball to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, exploring 11-year-old Brilyn’s hometown of Saint Louis is always exciting…and delicious! It is also where she has had some special experiences like playing violin at a major league baseball game and volunteering with Feed My People.

* This post was originally written as a spokesmodel speech that Brilyn gave in National American Miss Missouri 2018.


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