I look like you but you think I act 'weird'! I adjust to a body that is at odds with my brain. To a world that is too much. I am constantly overwhelmed. I am as you see me. I am true. And I am always made to feel like I am not enough. By parents. By teachers. By the world. I am isolated. I am ridiculed. I am belittled. I sit in a class with eighteen children who make so much noise I can't handle it. On top of that the teacher says things that I can't understand. You want me to learn how to make friends but I end up getting jeered at and bullied. I am kicked out after I beat up the boy near me so, my parents are told that I am not normal - this is the regular school that everyone goes to. Then, I go to this special school. There are 6 children in my class. Some are screaming, some are rolling, some are zoned out. My teacher is singing a song about photosynthesis. I don't understand anything but I sing along because I like songs. I make bags, sing rhymes and pack up after lunch. One day a child screamed so loudly that I saw red. I hit him. This is the special school where I am again not wanted. I am kept apart from others in this different school. The teachers let me do what I like. I spin flowers and zone out. Some children smile but I am not ever invited to play with them. I like the music class but I don't understand fractions. I get through exams but I don't know why or how. This is an alternative school they say. I again hit a child so I am now asked to leave from here too.
Then, I went to this other school called Sense Kaleidoscopes. Here, I sit with just 2 other children in my class with 1 teacher, I had actually started out on a one on one with the teacher. Do you know I work with a laptop from grade 2, and I have a super big interactive board in my classroom. It feels awesome to see and experience all the concepts that never made sense to me. I question, I challenge my teachers, I even correct their mistakes in class and I do presentations and earn my money for performing well in school. I have now learnt to comprehend stories and answer questions. I manage an excel sheet to keep an eye on my income and expenses. My teachers are loads of fun and we do interesting things, we build friends for life and we talk when we are troubled. They always correct me and help my parents understand how to deal with my bad moods. They also counsel us on a daily basis and help us learn how to solve our problems.
Most importantly, I love the kids at my school - they are like me, we eat together, we chat, we go out bowling, we do sleep overs and we also go and watch movies post which we go for late night dinners with my friends. I finally have true friends, who are like me and understand me as much as I do them. I did give them a hard time when I joined, because I thought that they would also be like the other schools I went to. But I was taught a golden rule here - If I am good, the world is good; if I am bad, the world is sad and hence, bad. I am now writing my NIOS exams and also I have decided to become an artist, My friend is doing his 10th too, but he loves technology and so my teachers are trying to find a space for him to go to after he finishes his exams. I am going to miss him but we will meet after school. Now, every weekend is exciting, I go out with my friends and try new things. Last week we played some VR games at the mall. Today, I am trained with an academic program that helps me understand and think for myself. I am trained to either be an artist or even choose any other profession that I would like to pursue. I feel independent, confident and productive and I have a roadmap for my future. Here, at Sense Kaleidoscopes, I am brilliant. I am talented. I am focused. So take a good look at me. I am here to stay!
I AM AUTISM!