When a fifth-grade teacher in Plattsburgh, New York asked her students to write a poem about themselves in honor of National Poetry Month, she did not anticipate the profound response that came from the insightful mind of one student in particular.
Benjamin Giroux, a 10-year-old boy who has Asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism) sat down to pen his own poem that turned into a viral message for children with autism around the world.
This is Benjamin Giroux, a 10-year-old student from Plattsburgh, New York.
When his teacher recently asked students to write a poem about themselves, Benjamin penned an emotional letter about life with autism and how ‘odd’ he feels.
The poem reads:
I am odd, I am new, I wonder if you are too,” Benjamin began, as he set out to try to express what it’s like to live with autism.
I hear voices in the air
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, “feel like a castaway”
I dream of a day that that’s okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new.
Benjamin’s parents were moved when they read his poem.
“At first, we felt sad and hurt that he feels isolated, alone, misunderstood and odd at school,” Benjamin’s dad Sonny told Today.com.
“As the poem went on, we realized that he understands that he’s odd and that so is everyone else in their own way, which is what Ben wants everyone to embrace.”
Benjamin’s father shared the poem on Facebook in hopes of getting some supportive comments to prove to his son just how inspiring his writing is.
And it wasn’t long before it was picked up by the National Autism Association who shared the poem on their official Facebook page.
A mother writes, "My 10 year old son with Aspergers was asked to write a poem for school titled 'I Am' he was given the...Posted by National Autism Association on Sunday, April 10, 2016
Since posting, the poem has been shared nearly 40K times and is accompanied by the hashtag #oddtoo.
Benjamin’s poem has since gone viral, winning awards, inspiring children’s books, songs, and even tattoo designs.
And people loved his raw insight into life with autism.
Benjamin’s dad says he hasn’t been writing much lately but enjoys other mediums like drawing and playing music.
h/t Bored Panda