Autistic Student’s Spontaneous Speech Brings Classroom Teacher To Tears

Last week, was Autism Awareness Month and something amazing happened in the classroom of a 4th grade teacher at Chino Valley School District.

To spread awareness about Autism, every classroom on this California campus were instructed to have students decorate a paper puzzle piece and hang it on their classroom doors.

So when Ms. Lisa Moe handed out the puzzle pieces, most students were aware of the reason for decorating the puzzle pieces, but they did not know that one of them had autism in the classroom: Rumari.

As soon as the teacher finished announcing, Rumari rose his hand and said “May I please say something?” Moe nodded and said “of course”, but she did not know what was going to happen next.

In her Facebook post, she said: “Rumari has faced challenges and barriers beyond what any of us will ever be able to fully understand. But today, he 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.”

 

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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Instagram: @MissMoeTeaches
Twitter: @MissMoeTeaches

Posted by Lisa Rachel Moe on Thursday, April 4, 2019

It was a revelation to her and the students when they heard Rumari speak, and although it never hit her to get her phone out to capture the moment, she finally realized how precious the moment was and without any of the students knowing, she hit record and captured the final moments of Rumari’s talk, along with the class reactions to it.

Her classroom mottos of “Be Kind” and “Yes I Can” were in that moment and the tears could not be stopped, as the other students expressed their admiration and love for him.

Rumari’s mother was thrilled by the video and told Moe: “Watching Rumari so courageously speak about autism and how it relates to him and others is beyond what I can properly express. It brings me great joy to watch him be so unapologetically proud to be autistic… Thank you for creating such a comforting, loving and supportive environment that my baby felt safe to express himself. You’re doing great things and giving others the courage to do the same. ”

Moe said, “One of the biggest lessons I have learned through this is that kids are still kids. They sometimes say things they shouldn’t or do something they know isn’t right.”

“When they entered my class at the beginning of the year, many lacked confidence and struggled with a negative mindset. But in the right positive environment where I stress the importance of kindness, empathy, compassion, and self-confidence every day through our class motto of ‘Yes I Can!’, to me, it solidified my position as an educator and the impact and influence of being the ‘positive teacher’. We can make our world a feel-good, happy place.”

She concluded, “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.”

Verse of the Day

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. — Jeremiah 17:5 (NIV)

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