Heart of Autism: Teacher on the Spectrum Inspires Students with Autism

Thursday, February 20, 2014
This Heart of Autism post is written by Ann Kagarise, the Assistant Director at IDEA House Educational Services, a published author, a journalist, an amazing photographer, a counselor, a volunteer in her community. She also happens to be on the autism spectrum! Below is a beautiful poem written by Ann about her experiences as a woman on the spectrum teaching students with autism: “There is no other place I would rather be than at a school that ‘gets’ me.”
Pull up a blade of grass, sit down and get to know me
Sit quietly with me. I love your company, but I love the silence.
Look at life, with me, as if you are looking at it for the first time.
Watch my eyes dance as I think of something fun.
Look at the world as a toy.
Play.
Enjoy.
Love.
Connect.
When I hear others speak of Autism, they miss the best parts.
“People on the spectrum do not connect.”
Funny.
When I look into the eyes of a child with Autism, I feel a connection that goes to my soul.
I feel what they are feeling. I hurt when they are hurting. I feel joy when they feel joy.
I empathize. I love them deeply.
There is no place I would rather be.
I would have done anything to have a school like IDEA House when I was a kid.
I would have done anything for someone to ‘get’ me.’
“She doesn’t make eye contact.”
“She doesn’t make friends.”
“She likes to be by herself.”
“She’s different.”
You think we don’t hear that?
Yes. We do. While thinking, if they knew how much we feel, they would understand why I have to get a break from life at times.
If they knew just how much connection I feel with the people around me they would understand why my skin hurts at times and why I just cannot look at them.
There is no other place I would rather be than at a school that ‘gets’ me.
A place that offers more for kids on the spectrum than I ever had as a kid.
To come alongside a kid on the spectrum and show them that they can do it, gives me purpose.
It makes my life of struggles all worth it.
IDEA House is a place that took me in. They allowed me to grow and to be who I was at first.
We meet kids on the spectrum where they are. I have a degree in counseling and there is no other place I would want to work than beside a child with Autism.
“I have Autism, too.”
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