I want to tell you how the seeds of my presentation were planted. I was bullied quite a lot in middle school and even a bit when I started high school. It made me feel so upset and frustrated and I just couldn’t understand what those kids were teasing me for. I just wished all the time that they would appreciate me for my talents.
Then, when I was in seventh grade, one of my gym teachers asked whether I’d come talk to her health class about living with autism. I really liked standing in front of her class and talking and answering questions—I’ve performed a lot with my violin and also in drama productions, and I love having an audience. I also thought that maybe those mean kids would learn something and change, but I guess they weren’t in the class that I talked to, because I still got bullied afterwards.
Even so, I loved having that chance to talk about living with autism, and my PE coach and the health teacher were both so enthusiastic and happy about my sharing with the class. They could see that I was comfortable answering the kids’ questions and they said I did a great job.
During middle-school, I often “baby-sat” the science room parrot, named Rudi. I love birds and Rudi was great fun.