Crowd Goes Silent To Make Graduation Easier On Autistic Classmate

Storyful Published July 10, 2019 1,159 Plays

Rumble / Fascinating PeopleImagine a world where everyone is the same and everywhere you turn you see your face looking back at you. Imagine what it would be like if the person sitting next to you on the train to work is doing the same things as you are, likes the same things you do and even has the same dreams as you. It would all be a bit too creepy, don’t you think?

Diversity is the spice of life. Being different and unique is what makes all of the progress in this world. If all of the famous scientists we know and appreciate today were just your plain ole Johns and Janes Doe, we wouldn’t have electricity, penicillin and, shocker really, we definitely wouldn’t have Internet. So, why is it so hard to understand and accept in the 21st century that it is okay for the people around us to be different?

In a lot of ways individuals are doing their best to make the masses more inclusive of others, and it is always rewarding to see the results pay off. If you don’t believe us, check out this video filmed in Danbury, Connecticut. The video shows the graduation ceremony of Carmel High School students and the magical moment they all made sure to make it a memorable one for their autistic friend Jack Higgins.

Autism is a part of the autism spectrum disorder and represents a developmental disorder. Many people who have autism tend to have difficulties with social interaction and communication as well as expressing repetitive behaviors. The reason for this disorder isn’t pinpointed at only one cause, but it is believed that a mix of genetic and environmental factors are behind it.

There are various degrees of autism, some individuals have a better reaction to therapy and can socialize with others, while some have a really hard time to do so. People on the autism spectrum are usually focused on one subject and shifting their attention to another thing might cause discomfort and irritation. As most of them are sensitive to noise and/or light, it is really important not to give them a sensory overload.

Having these things in mind, Carmel High School principal Lou Riolo came up with a solution, asking the entire crowd to stay quiet as Higgins received his diploma on June 20. He wasn’t sure whether this would work, but was pleasantly surprised when all of the students and guests in attendance became silent the second Jack came up on stage. He instructed them to softly “golf clap” if they wanted to, and they heeded his advice. Higgins was part of the New York school’s PACE program for students with cognitive, learning or behavior challenges.