Benjamin Giroux, a 10-year-old boy from Plattsburgh, N.Y., wrote an amazing poem that opened a window into his experience living with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder.
According to Today, Giroux wrote the poem as part of a fifth-grade assignment for National Poetry Month that asked students to write a poem about themselves that included lines beginning with the words "I am."
Giroux's poem expresses his feelings of otherness and curiosity about those around him, beginning:
"I am odd, I am new
I wonder if you are too
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"
"At first, we felt sad and hurt that he feels isolated, alone, misunderstood and odd at school," his father, Sonny Giroux, told Today. "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."
The poem went viral shortly it was posted to the National Autism Association's Facebook page.
The National Autism Association responded to the note, saying, "You did an excellent job, Benjamin! You fit right in with us because we're #oddtoo."
Commenters on Facebook were equally impressed. "Brilliant! Truly, brilliant," wrote one. "A ten-year-old writing in similes and metaphors, the repetitious line is simply stunning. This kid has a gift. We'll be looking back on this poem one day."
"Ben's goal was to have people understand that being odd is different, and different is amazing, and people shouldn't be afraid of who they are," Sonny Giroux told Today. "And that makes me one proud father!"