Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jeremy grad Young Man with Autism To Give Commencement Speech

Congratulations to my good friend Chantal Sicile-Kira and her family on Jeremy's success. Chantal is a writer and amazing Autism Mom who has helped support, educate and entertain others in the autism world for many years. Jeremy's success is Chantal's success, and she deserves every bit of it.

San Diego Ranch Coast News

Inspirational autistic TPHS student graduates, will deliver a commencement speech

Jeremy Sicile-Kira is autistic and cannot speak, but that does not mean he has nothing to say. After seven years at Torrey Pines High School, he has earned his high school diploma and will deliver a commencement speech to his classmates through voice-assisted technology at the June 18 graduation ceremony.

“I am nervous but very touched that I am giving a speech,” said Jeremy, using a letter board to spell out his words. “I want to tell them never give up on your dreams.”

To graduate high school Jeremy, 21, has taken units in mainstream general education classes as well as in his severely handicapped classes with Allen Gustafson, whom Jeremy said is the “best teacher.” He does all the same work as his regular education peers, he just gets more time to do it. He passed his California High School Exit Exam on the first try and will attend MiraCosta College in the fall to study communications.

Next week he will graduate on the same day as his sister, Rebecca, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy.

“I was pretty amazed,” said proud mom Chantal, who never even expected it would be possible for Jeremy to earn his diploma, let alone with a 3.5 GPA.

Along the autism spectrum, every child’s symptoms are different. Although Jeremy can say a few words, he has never been able to speak. In a speech written for an autism conference, Jeremy explained how his autism affected his vision, hearing and motor skills.

He said he had to learn how to hear, how to know which noise to pay attention to and distinguish when someone was speaking to him. He had to learn how to focus to be able to see.

“If I don’t concentrate, the world seems surreal,” Jeremy said...

Read the full article at San Diego Ranch Coast News.


Dani G said...

Thank you, Kim. Thank you, Chantal. Thank you, Jeremy. You all give me hope- the one thing that keeps me going.

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

Food, water, oxygen and hope. Maybe a cup of the milk of human kindness every so often. We all deserve them.

kim mccafferty said...

It is so wonderful to see such shining examples of success. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

Sage Moonstone said...

This is so wonderful!

I love hearing stories like this.. said...

: )