Good Sunday to my Firedoglake friends. This morning I’m going to share a letter my son wrote which our family is sharing with everyone. Here it is:
My name is James St. John, I am 16 years old and have been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I am very bright and have a great sense of humor. I excel at science but I lack in social skills. I am a very tolerant person, but I love to make and hear politically incorrect jokes. I love to read and have been reading the complete Sherlock Holmes. I also like the Harry Potter series and some Kurt Vonnegut books but I hope to get a bit more into the literary classics. I also love computers and computer games. I used to go to the Dean’s Office when I was in 6th grade, but with the social skills class, I have addressed my disability, therefore I have become much better behaved. In my social skills class we are trying to raise money so we can go to Washington D.C. and experience different environments. We also want to send money to the Odila Orphanage in Kenya, which we partner with.
In October 2008, our High Functioning Autistic teacher decided to involve us in a project, The Ambassadors Club, in which she got us to write letters to an orphanage in Kenya which takes care of and educates children,who lost parents to HIV AIDS. We formed the club with me as the president and we started communicating with them. According to our teacher, establishing a rapport with students from a third world country would help us learn about serving those less privileged than us and would teach us not to be self-centered. We found out that our teacher is originally from Kenya and that our president has roots there. We followed the presidential campaign and when he was elected into is current position we wrote a letter congratulating him. Three months later we received a response from him acknowledging our letter. We decided as the Ambassadors to follow up by visiting Washington DC with the hope of seeing the president at the White House in hope of talking to him about High Functioning Autism and some of the challenges we face as students with this disability.
In order to tackle these projects I have to raise funds. I hope you you can be my sponsor as I try to raise money for these projects which go a long way in educating me in many practical ways while at the same time affecting others lives.
I thought my friends here might enjoy reading this to see what some young folks are doing to learn about the world outside of their little boxes. I think it’s wonderful that their teacher is encouraging them to care about others, to think on a global level and to advocate for themselves and others.
If you have a kind word or a word of advice for these students, I’d be glad to share them with his teacher and his fellow classmates.
All is not lost, pups. There is a younger generation of people who are following in the footsteps of advocates and activists everywhere who work for fairness, peace and tolerance.