Today, I leave this place.
Hirsch however, will never leave me.
It is home.
It is more than I can spell.
I came here when I was six years old - silent without a voice.
Silly stories of turnips I do recall.
Everytime I see the small room downstairs, I smile in reflection.
Inside I know, conversations took place.
It was there in that room – Spelling To Communicate came into my life.
Words broke free.
Like oxygen to my lungs.
Breathing in for the very first time.
It’s me in here.
Best practices then incited so much more.
My soul on fire.
Presuming competence is the key.
Look with your heart, not your eyes.
This is not easy to do.
Nothing worthwhile happens without acknowledgement of truth.
The truth is love binds us together as one.
With love, our differences are respected.
Our differences bring unity not division.
With love, all things are possible.
Stephen Hawking said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
So much talking in this world.
Less talking, more listening.
Listen to my spelled words.
Listen to our voices.
Shouting in silence, we will be heard.
With every touch of a letter, we will continue to climb to the top of this slippery slope.
Misconceptions swarm us.
We need your understanding, too.
Autism is not my disability.
It is so much more than a written diagnosis.
It is who I am.
Autism is not a tragedy.
It is love magnified in unexpected ways.
It really is a gift to this noisy, broken world for those who are willing to see it.
The revolution has begun.
Watching Spellers The Movie gave me such hope.
All in this together.
More Autistics are finding their voices.
Silenced no more are we.
So much more to be done.
I will never stop advocating.
I will never give up.
Change begins with us.
My heartfelt thanks to my Hirsch family.
Hirsch will forever be my home.
Susan - Thank you for mentoring me - My Hirsch Mom you will always be.
Leslie and Ian - Without you there would be no Hirsch - I will hold you close in my heart.
Shelley - My role model in advocacy - I love you - Don’t take your foot off the gas. Keep going.
To my lifeline - My Mom - You are my rock and my shield.
Words cannot suffice my gratitude to my entire family. I would not be where I am today without your unconditional love and support.
I leave you with these words.
Love with your whole heart.
Listen with minds wide open.
Understanding leads to infinite possibilities.
Gandhi said it best - “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Change the world.
I am with you all the way.