Autistic children are truly one of a kind. The disorder is very complex and hard to understand.
Every child diagnosed with autism is different and their symptoms vary when it comes to social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication, and non-repetitive behaviors. Being in middle school is already confusing enough with the growing pains and puberty kicking in, so can you imagine how it feels to be in middle school with a mental disorder?
A lot of children are very quick to judge or back away from what they don’t understand because they have not fully developed their cognitive sense and own perspective on themselves, people, and the world we live in. Autistic children are often treated differently in school because they are misunderstood; they end up eating lunch alone or sitting in the corner at recess.
As a society, we should make an effort to step out of our comfort zone and get to know people regardless of their differences. Florida State University football player Travis Rudolph set the perfect example for this topic of conversation earlier this week when he visited a local middle school and ate lunch with a young boy named Bo Paske.
Bo Paske is an autistic middle school student who in his mother’s words:
“He doesn’t seem to notice when people stare at him when he flaps his hands. He doesn’t seem to notice that he doesn’t get invited to birthday parties anymore. And he doesn’t seem to mind if he eats lunch alone. It’s one of my daily questions for him. Was there a time today you felt sad? Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody. Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets.” – (Leah Paske’s Heart Felt Facebook Post)
Travis Rudolph is a wide receiver at Florida State, and now hero to Bo and Leah Paske. Random acts of kindness go along way and it doesn’t take much to put a smile one someones face. We respect Travis Rudolph for his innate empathy and encourage everyone reading this to follow suit.