Fourth-Grade Boy with Autism Skillfully Explains His Condition to His Entire Class

A fourth-grade student with autism explained his condition to his entire class, and his words are incredibly profound.

Rumari is a member of Lisa Moe’s class in Chino Valley, California. He has autism. May is Autism Awareness month, and one day in class while the students were doing an awareness-raising activity, he spontaneously raised his hand and asked Ms. Moe if he could say something.

Ms. Moe agreed, so Rumari got up in front of the room, and he began to speak.

“For a really long time, you guys had not known I had autism,” Rumari said. “So you guys thought I was weird doing this,” and he demonstrated the “stimming” behavior of hitting his hand as it rested against his face. He does it when he wants to feel better, he explained, and other kids might want to try it too.

Rumari also shared that it’s important to make kids with autism “feel like a somebody.” He pointed out that other kids may sometimes think he was weird because of how he talks or his stimming behavior, but they shouldn’t judge.

The entire class silently listened to Rumari as he shared. Meanwhile, Ms. Moe had begun filming once she realized that something “beautiful” was happening in her classroom.

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? Today, a beautiful thing occurred within my classroom. My two most important mottos and lessons I stress every single day with my students is to “Be Kind” and to believe in one’s self through the growth mindset of “Yes I Can”. • • It is #AutismAwareness Month and every classroom on campus has been asked to have each student decorate a paper puzzle piece and hang it on our classroom doors. When I handed out the puzzle pieces, most students were familiar with the idea of Autism and aware of the cause of decorating the puzzle pieces. What my students did not know is that Autism is present within our classroom with one of our fellow classmates, Rumari. With excitement, Rumari rose his hand and said “May I please say something?” I nodded and said “of course”, but never could I have imagined what was to follow. • • Rumari has faced challenges and barriers beyond what any of us will ever be able to fully understand. But today, Rumari stood in front of the classroom with full confidence, enthusiasm, and courage and showed us that there is no challenge or barrier that can stop him. He brought to life the meaning of “Yes I Can” as he explained to his fellow classmates that he was autistic. With full knowledge, he explained the differences that may come when being autistic and how the spectrum is vast. He courageously spoke about his own differences and quirks, while defining what it means to make everyone feel like a someone. • • My other students and I sat quietly and listened, completely engulfed in every word he spoke to us. Because of this, it took me a bit before realizing I needed to capture this moment. Without any of the students knowing, I hit record and captured the final moments of Rumari speaking to us and the raw, authentic reactions of the rest of my students. It is then, that I lost my ability to hold back the tears. It is then, that the daily lessons to “Be Kind” and to remember “Yes I Can” were brought together. • • If I were unable to ever teach again or if there was ever a question to my path into this role as an educator, this moment solidified my purpose. With permission from Rumari’s parents, I wanted to share with you this moment:

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After Rumari was done, kids began raising their hands – but not to ask Rumari questions about autism. Instead, they began praising him. One asked if she could give Rumari a hug.

The moment meant so much to Ms. Moe that she posted the video onto Instagram, with Rumari’s parents’ permission. That video has now gone viral.

“If I were unable to ever teach again or if there was ever a question to my path into this role as an educator, this moment solidified my purpose,” Ms. Moe wrote.