from May 15, 2011
the right way by John Smyth
This is a story of a teenage boy who had dreamed a high aspiration of fitting into an unknown world. Its a sad story of lost opportunity and trust. Shattered heart and broken promises followed him day and night. It’s about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole without the proper tools to grind it down and make it fit. It’s about an autistic teen wanting more than anything to prove his significance in school and with his peers. It’s about me and my experience at Carmel High School. My name is John Smyth, and I am sharing my story with all, so that no other children will have to accept less than they deserve.
I wish things could have been different, but this is how it went down. I got my voice in December of 2010. My parents and Poorman were so excited, and right away believed in me and wanted educational excellence just as I did. We spent long hours typing, and learning so that we could explore my dream of education in a traditional setting. After a case conference was held, and the committee informed of my ability, I thought my dreams would finally come true, general education social studies.
The students and I were excited. They understood why I was there, and spent their time getting to know me. They wrote out questions for me to answer and to get to know me. I read and answered each one. They welcomed me and my responses. I was so happy when the kids learned about me. It all seemed to go downhill from there. You see there was a problem that to this day nobody can seem to understand. The problem is that I have no way to interact, and no voice among my fellow classmates. Carmel Schools won’t allow my facilitator, who is a licensed teacher and trained by Syracuse University, to come and train their staff how to support me while in class.
I have much anger and disappointment about their negligence toward my basic need to communicate. It isn’t fair that staff is being asked to help me with no tools in their belt. The tools they need are right here in Carmel under their noses, yet they refuse to reach out and seize them. Now quality time and opportunity for success have passed, and the class has not recognized my potential. Now the class sees me as stupid, and laugh at me all because of their politics. I sure do wish they could be open like Brownsburg or Hamilton Southeastern, where kids come before politics, and where they believe in educating all equally. I’ve been neglected by Carmel for so long, and so have many other children with autism, its so sad, and angering. What is it going to take to get them to understand that each day I walk in that lifeskills class, a part of me dies? I am humiliated and angry, to the point where I have given up, but then I remember my mission of being a warrior for many after me.
I am passionate about helping other children in Carmel and all over the United States get a voice, and be heard. Not just a very few, but many. More than what there are currently. Not just young children, but older people too. I feel a sense of urgency to get the message out, so no people with autism or other disabilities have to die in silence. You see, teaching all people would be the right way.