Sleepover

Toronto Skyscraper II: Ben Wants Friends

Ben Goodes, 13, loves eating junk food and playing with his dog and best friend, Maya. Ben is looking for human friends, but has social anxiety related to his autism. People confound him, but he’s braved a sleepover to learn the secret to making buds.
Sleepover Toronto 1 2:46
Listen to the full episode27:06

This Sleepover is on the edge of downtown Toronto, in an urban wasteland of demolished buildings and empty gravel lots. In the distance, out of the rubble, juts a brand new skyscraper.  

In comes 13-year old Ben Goodes. He speaks boldly and bluntly, which can be delightful or awkward! Making friends is tough for Ben, whose social anxiety is part of his autism. He gets along with his best friend—his dog Maya—but he has a harder time understanding humans.

While Ben is confounded by social interaction, he is brave enough to sleep over because he wants to understand how to make a friend.

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PHOTOS FROM THE EPISODE

Ben Goodes opens up about a challenge he’s facing. He has trouble making friends. (Veronica Simmonds)
His giant turtle-shape nightlight helps him through the night when he’s scared. (Veronica Simmonds)
Kai Cheng and Judy weigh in with their woes when it comes to making good friends. (Veronica Simmonds)
Ben loves his dog Maya. (Veronica Simmonds)
But people are harder to understand and get close to. (Veronica Simmonds)
In his neighbourhood there are only seniors and young girls, “not his target markets.” (Craig Desson)
He ponders the illusive mystery of friendship. (Veronica Simmonds)
Sook-Yin seems to dig him. (Veronica Simmonds)
And so do Kai Cheng and Judy. Maybe meeting people can be fun and easy! (Veronica Simmonds)