This poem was inspired by some of my students who are nonverbal. This poem could be for anyone: a caretaker, guardian, mother, father, aunt, uncle or a teacher who has a relationship with a child who has autism. It helps to remind us that we have to keep in mind that although a child with autism is nonverbal, she/he will be able to hear what we say in front of them, see what we do and sense our emotions and feelings. We have to remind ourselves to have patience for the child, be respectful and have high expectations.
Sometimes, you forget I exist because I am quiet at times and cannot speak,
I am eight years old, I am not aggressive, I can be timid, mild and meek,
I may not speak, but with my keen sense of hearing, I do hear your words,
Sometimes your words are kind and other times, they can pierce through me like swords,
Even though I don’t understand every word I hear, I see your gestures and facial expressions as you pace back and forth and shout out words,
As I shrink into the corner of the room, my feelings tell me they are hurtful words and make me want to run and fly away with the birds,
I am confused because you tell me you love me and other times, you push me away not wanting to look at me,
You know what? I am a nonverbal autistic child who cannot express all my emotions…I am me!
So please have patience, respect me and have high expectations for me,
I have feelings like you and if you understand me better, you will love me more, the true me!
by: Mary Tran