Kiowa sixth-grader raises awareness about autism
April 7, 2021
On Saturday morning, a small crowd gathered in Progress Park in Kiowa, Kansas, for the town's first Autism Awareness Walk, and to eat barbecue, get their faces painted, enjoy Lane Haas' singing onstage, and hear a poignant message from sixth-grader Cherokee Israel.
Israel thanked the crowd for taking part in the event, and read this to them:
"I am autistic," she read to the small crowd. "There is nothing wrong with me. I am not flawed. I am not broken. I don't have special needs. I have human needs.
"My brain thinks out of the typical box. My brain is not missing pieces. My brain is complete. In fact, I could argue that I experience MORE than the average neurotypical person. I require accommodations to live life to my fullest potential in a neurotypical centered world. And that's okay.
"I'm happy. I am not less. I am different. I am extraordinary. I am smart. I am focused. I am kind. I am proud. I am unique. I am quirky. I love. I care."
April is World Autism Awareness Month, when people who care about those with autism spread awareness, promote acceptance, and ignite change of this disease that remains very misunderstood by most.
Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. The condition affects each person differently.
The purpose of awareness events is to show hope, love, faith and support for people who live with autism.