Where education meets advocacy...

The Ode to the Autistic Man (and other poems)

POETRY

As a blogger, I have been fortunate to meet many people committed to the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. These stakeholders include parents, educators, community leaders, philanthropists and self-advocates, all of whom raise their voices about an issue to which they are passionately committed.  Conversations take place online via blogs and various social media outlets; with rare in-person connections.  Do not let that concern you, these conversations are no less rich and these connections have the power to affect real and meaningful change; there is no questioning the strength of social networking.

It’s always exciting to make a new connection online. I’m flattered when someone seeks my advice and it thrills me when someone reaches out with an invitation to speak or consult.  And yet every once in a while I get a message like this one, from a self-advocate, and I’m swiftly reminded of why we all continue to blog, advocate, share and connect.

Dear Lisa,

I am Scott Lentine, a 26 year old man with high-functioning autism (PDD-NOS/Asperger’s) from Billerica, MA, outside of Boston. I graduated from Merrimack College magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies with a Biology minor. I am currently an office intern at the Arc of Massachusetts in Waltham, where I try to persuade lawmakers to pass key disability resources legislation to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. I have some autism song/poems in this email that I wanted to have you read and show to people you know on the autism spectrum and to friends you know who support autism causes. I hope you and your friends love these poems! I also have a blog on WordPress about autism. The link is http://scottlentine.wordpress.com/ Hope you enjoy the poems and blog!

Here are the poems that Scott has shared:

Just a Normal Day

Never knowing what to say
Never knowing what to do
Always looking for clues
Just a normal day

Feeling unsure
Totally perplexed with everyday life
Always on edge never certain
I wish I could lift this curtain
Needing to constantly satisfy my need for information
Always online searching for new revelations
Going from site to site
Obtaining new insights every night

Trying to connect with people my age
Attempting to reveal my unique vision
But ending up alone and unengaged
Feeling like my needs a total revision
Just a normal day

Can’t You See

Can’t you see
I just want to have a friend
Can’t you see
I need the same connections in the end

Can’t you see
I want a good job
Can’t you see
I need to have stability and independence and be part of the general mob

Can’t you see
I want to be independent on my own
Can’t you see
I want to be able to have my own home

Can’t you see
I want the same things as everyone else
Can’t you see
I want to be appreciated for myself

The Ode to the Autistic Man

Try to understand the challenges that I face
I would like to be accepted as a human in all places
Where I will end up in life I don’t know
But I hope to be successful wherever I go
I would like to expand my social skills in life
Making new friends would be very nice

Stand proud for the autistic man
For he will find a new fan
I hope to overcome the odds I face today
Increased acceptance will lead me to a brighter day

By the age of 20, I will have made tremendous strides
I know in the future, life will continue to be an interesting ride
I have made new friends by the year
I will be given tremendous respect by my family and peers
I hope to get noted for bringing the issue of autism to the common man
So that autistic people can be accepted in this great land

Stand proud for the autistic man
For he will find a new fan
I hope to overcome the odds I face today
Increased acceptance will lead me to a brighter day

Marshfield Memories 

Today is a beautiful day on the beach
There are plenty of people and dogs to see
The water is warm and the sky is bright
And seeing some people flying a kite

I am having a fun time with cousins and friends
Hoping that this day will never end
The ocean and sands are comfortable and feel so right
Taking a walk towards Brant Rock in the strong sunlight

Now it is the evening of the third of July
Watching the amazing fireworks from the seawall go by
Talking with family about the latest moments of the day
And meeting some new friends along the way

It was a great time on the beach today
Reading a book and going into the ocean on a bright clear day
These are moments that I will remember for a long time
Being on the beach on a nice warm day is truly sublime

Photo Credit: V. H. Hammer

How did you like Scott’s poems? Give him a word of encouragement in the comments section below!

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I helped to build a synagogue special needs program from the ground up and I am proud to be able to offer my professional support & expertise to others through a wide variety of workshops and presentations. I firmly believe that everyone has a right to learn Torah and feel connected to his/her heritage. I can help you make that a reality. Contact me for a wide variety of professional presentations and workshops for teachers, parents and teens.

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