Autism impacts the ability to communicate. It’s considered a “spectrum” disorder because there is such a wide range of symptoms, and it can be difficult for those with autism to fit into a school environment.

Which is why it’s all the more moving that Rumari, a fourth-grader, was willing to talk about his life and experiences with his classmates. His teacher, Lisa Moe, was having her class decorate puzzle pieces for Autism Awareness month, and not all of her students realized that one of their classmate Rumari had autism.

Rumari raised his hand and asked his teacher if he could say something. With that, he stood in front of his classmates and talked about his life and what it’s like. He challenged his classmates to be kind to those who are different and to reach out in friendship.

Miss Moe said about the exchange:

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.

See some of what he said here, and be sure to read what Miss Moe thought about it!

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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:

A post shared by Lisa Moe (@missmoeteaches) on

Although she was too surprised to capture the full exchange, it’s a delight to see the confidence Rumari has in answering his classmates’ questions. It shows the impact of Miss Moe’s teaching and that she created an environment where Rumari could feel comfortable and confident. And Rumari, of course, showed real strength and vulnerability by opening up to his classmates.

Perhaps we should all remember her class mottos: “Be Kind” and “Yes I Can.”