At the age of 12, Matthew Rau has already accomplished publishing his first book of poetry. “Heart of the Seasons” expresses his keen observation and appreciation of nature’s changes throughout the year. Matthew is a sixth-grader in Kalispell, MT. He is on the autism spectrum, and has participated in the Child Development Center’s programs.
Fitting for April, we were thrilled to have two of his Spring-themed poems (along with some of his drawings) on display at our First Friday gallery event for Autism Acceptance on April 7 in downtown Missoula.
The catalyst for Matthew’s writing penchant was a poetry assignment in his English Language Arts Class last fall. He said he is looking forward to having his work on display:
“I want to share my gift of writing and artwork with others.”
Writing and sketching aren’t Matthew’s only creative talents. He also enjoys Lego construction, videography and music.
“I love Legos; I like making videos with them. I play drums in our church praise band and in our school band.”
When Matthew isn’t busy creating, he spends time with the family’s cats, plays Pokémon Go and focuses on learning and getting good grades.
When asked what he would like to share with others about the autism spectrum, he showed wisdom beyond his years:
“Autism is a different perspective of thinking. It’s the same as if someone was left handed. Everyone is different and it’s OK.”
This isn’t to say that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) don’t need support. It’s a spectrum, and different people are impacted differently by this neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly affects communication, social-emotional skills, and sensory processing to varying degrees. But more than therapy, intervention or support, kids with autism need to be included and appreciated for the amazing individuals they are. This is true for all kids, neurotypical or neurodiverse. That’s what our Autism Acceptance campaign is all about.
“Acceptance is seeing people as the ordinary kid, no difference between them,” said Matthew.
We look forward to seeing more of Matthew’s creative talent. He has a vision.
“I will continue my writing and sketching. I want to do more animal sketches, especially a horse. I am hoping to create books that kids love.”
You can support western-Montana learners on the autism spectrum by donating to the Child Development Center. Your gift will help us buy educational toys, technology and experiences for children in our programs.
You can also get an Acceptance T-Shirt throughout the month of April. Shirts are only $10, and come in youth, ladies and unisex fits. All proceeds come back to the Child Development Center for educational tools.
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