I saw the movie Deej recently. I loved it. It is a documentary about DJ Savarese who is a nonverbal autistic like me. I am following in his footsteps by going to regular school and being included. DJ received a good education with the help of a communication helper. He was meaningfully included. He participated. DJ learned to teach his neurotypical classmates that just because you can’t speak doesn’t mean you can’t think or communicate another way. DJ types like me. Like me he needs assistance to initiate, keep going, and not get off track. DJ wrote a play about his autism. His classmates acted it out. I thought it was great that DJ could teach his classmates this way. I hope I can make my classmates understand autism too. It is really peace to my soul to teach others that we who cannot speak are deep thinkers. We just have bodies out of synch with our minds. Meaningful lives are found when we can connect with others. Having effective means to communicate builds bridges linking people’s hearts and minds.
Deej was able to graduate from high school. His walk across the stage was my favorite part because it is my goal to get a high school diploma. I graduated middle school last spring. It was one of the best moments of my life.
DJ went to college at Oberlin. It was a lot of hard work. I mean to be a writer when I finish high school. I’m not sure I want to go to college. But I think everyone should set their own goals. I love that DJ's parents always supported him in reaching his goals. My parents also support me. They make my life more like a neurotypical's life by making me able to do regular things. I’m not typical though. Being autistic is my destiny. Inclusion should be for all on the basis of our humanity.
Typing a question to Deej himself!
Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes. All rights reserved.