When 6-year-old Lex was confronted by a girl at school and told that her brother was ‘weird’, she was left confused and upset. When she tried to explain that her brother had autism, the girl didn’t understand what that meant.
Sophie Camilleri – Lex’s mum – told Buzzfeed news about Lex’s response to the girl’s comment:
“She said he’s not, he has autism. The girl didn’t know what it was…She was confused. Lex said that she had to explain that it was a disability.”
Camilleri said that Lex was very upset when she got home, but that having been elected to the school council, decided to write an open letter which was read out to the class.
The letter explains her feelings on the comment regarding her brother and her views on disability in general, and reads:
“On Monday I felt very sad because a girl in my class said that my brother was weird.
“My brother has autism and is not weird and I would like it if we could learn about all disabilities in schools so that everybody understand that some people are different but we should all be treated the same.”
When Lex’s teacher asked the class if they knew what autism was, not a single person put their hand up. In an attempt to encourage schools to teach about autism, Camilleri shared the letter on Facebook and it received a large number of positive responses.
Lex’s mum says that she keeps checking to see how many times the letter has been shared on Facebook and she can’t believe that it has gone viral. The post has been copied and shared all over the internet, but the original has been shared almost 26,000 times.
And the letter has even reached the National Autistic Society, who also commented on her amazing message.
And how does Lex feel about everything? Her mum doesn’t think that she fully realises the huge impact she’s had, and although it’s positive that she’s opened people’s eyes to autism, she still feels upset that Lex had to be put through the uncomfortable situation of being told that her brother is ‘weird’.
“It makes me really sad that no-one knows about these disabilities, if they were made aware it would change a lot of things. I think it would help kiddies to know about autism and the symptoms that come along with it,” she said. “I suppose it is confusing for them and it might be a bit of fear, because they don’t know what’s going on with the child.”
Let’s hope that schools around the country take Lex’s message on board.