Language is the most powerful means of communication. Some people can speak eloquently, while others can only think and cannot elucidate their thoughts. Language can be uplifting, but it can also make individuals feel as if they are being stabbed with a dagger.
For 10-year-old Benjamin Giroux, now 14, a student from Plattsburg, New York. It hasn’t always been easy to express himself vocally. He has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that causes him to be socially awkward.
He generally gives one-word answers and keeps to himself, but when his teacher assigned his class to write a poem with the word “I am” at the beginning of each stanza, he jumped at the opportunity. The pencil is in the boy’s hand, and his words flow like a river. His incredibly poignant poetry on growing up as a youngster with autism was widely circulated and lauded as a masterpiece. It’s a genuinely beautiful thing to write according to one’s emotions.
With sincere and straightforward verses, Benjamin has shown readers the thoughts of most children labeled as “different.” He cried when others mocked him, was afraid when finding himself shunned and abandoned. The poem’s final stanza is more upbeat, letting the reader know that he understands how others feel and that everyone is weird in their own way. It’s an unusual remark that few youngsters his age would make, and it gives us a window into his thoughts.
The National Autism Association was taken aback by the story and shared it on its Facebook page. Over 40,000 people have shared it thus far! It has aided in bringing Aspergers and its symptoms to the attention of those who are affected by it. His poetry, “I Am Odd, I Am New,” has been translated into 20 languages and published as a book. Many parents were also made aware of how their children may be feeling at school due to Benjamin’s poetry. Benjamin pushed all of their feelings to a new level. Not many kids can express themselves as passionately as Benjamin.
But, since writing seemed to come with too much pressure, he’s moved on to other ways of expressing himself. “Benjamin hasn’t written anything in a long time. He can’t bear the pressure of trying to produce a poem as good as that one. As a result, he’s switched mediums and now enjoys painting and music.”
Benjamin’s poetry brought to light the reality that many special needs children confront today, particularly at school and in the company of other youngsters. Children should be taught the value of empathy and unconditional inclusion from a young age and learn to appreciate everyone, even if they appear to be a bit … different.
Read Benjamins poem here.