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 Zach Schmitt

Published: Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 / Updated: Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 03:36 PM

 tgraham@fortmilltimes.com

FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — 

Sometimes Zach Schmitt walks alone.

“I am autistic,” Schmitt, 14, an eighth grader at Springfield Middle School, said. “In the years, I’ve been made fun of. Kids don’t pick me to be on their teams in gym.”

He’s been insulted and falsely befriended, and he has the battle marks to prove it.

“It made me upset, not happy,” said Schmitt, a member of Boy Scout Troop 250. “I feel left out.”

Last week, Schmitt held an autism awareness presentation that combined hands-on simulations and a pre-recorded message at Springfield, Gold Hill and Fort Mill middle schools as a way to earn Eagle Scout ranking. For Schmitt, the autism awareness message, expected to reach about 2,400 students, was more than meeting an Eagle ranking requirement: He wanted fellow students to take a walk in his life.

“I wanted to get kids to understand autistic kids, not make fun of them,” Schmitt said. “Treat them like they want to be treated.”

During the pre-recorded presentation held Oct. 4, Schmitt taught his peers about autism.

“He said, ‘Did you know that people like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Mozart had autism?’, Elkhyn Rivas, 13, recalled of Schmitt’s recorded message. “It made me think differently about people with autism.”

Those who learn to cope with autism sometimes suffer because of others.

Read in Full:  http://www.fortmilltimes.com/2010/10/11/1288385/bulling-schools-autism.html



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