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!
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.”