Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

Mikel - Portland, Oregon
Entered on March 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

When I was in elementary school there were a lot of students in the classroom, and I made a lot of friends. Then when I was in Fourth grade I got switched to Special Education because I had Aspergers, a low level type of autism. When I was first there I did not like it because I was not making many friends and the stuff that they taught me was too easy. There were not many kids in the class. Most of the kids acted differently; some were hyper and ran around like crazy, and most of them learned really slow. There were three teachers in the classroom because all of the kids had a different learning pace. I was in the fast learning pace.

I met a kid named Anton in the fourth grade. He changed my view of the world. We were both in Special Ed. At first I didn’t like him because he was really loud and always hitting me. Then a few years later I realized that he had some problems and it was not his fault. We became friends and he told me stories about things that happened to him. When he was a little kid he was abused by his parents. Then when he was five he moved in with foster parents. I thought, “Wow, he had a tough life.”

Anton taught me to accept people for who they are. What I learned from him is that no matter how people act differently we need to treat them the same and be their friend. Anton taught me as a disabled person that people who don’t treat others the same usually have something that they themselves are hiding. I believe in looking at the world through other people’s shoes and learning what their point of view is.