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#actuallyautistic voices

Fiction: Trent's Big Lesson

Our Narrative Writing class has just wrapped up, and Josh asked us to share his story. We hope you'll take a minute to read and appreciate the hard work of this young writer!

Trent ran to the playground with excitement. Recess was his favorite part of the school day. Today he was planning to ask God to give him a voice. Trent was 9 years old, autistic, and couldn’t speak. He felt desperately lonely without being able to communicate with his classmates and teacher. At home he spelled on his keyboard but his parapro (his helper at school) didn’t use it with him. She didn’t believe he could even spell. 

The playground had huge trees that were yellow and red on this hot, Tucson fall day. Trent loved the trees. He felt close to God under them. He told God he would give him anything if he could talk. He listened to the trees rustle but he didn’t hear God. A red leaf slowly floated down like a giant tear. 

Trent turned to the playground to try to find green grass. He loved the color green. It helped him feel calm. Trent was anxious most of the time. He just always was. His heart would race and pound. His head would feel like it was going to explode. The color green really gave him a feeling of peace. 

Then Trent heard the boys laughing. The boys always laughed at him. The playground could change at any moment from a place of joy to one of terror. They regularly frightened him and told him they wished he would die. Trent felt upset and scared. He wished they would leave him alone. The meanest one was Pete Reynolds. He had yellow teeth and a red face. He spit when he talked. He was the biggest jerk in class. Trent thought he really was the meanest kid in the whole world. 

Trent heard his parapro Diane’s voice. “Trent is over on the grass. Why don’t you boys go play with him?” Diane was old, thin, and had dark red hair. As Trent’s parapro she was supposed to protect him. She was nice to him but there was so much she didn’t understand. She didn’t know that Trent was smart. She didn’t know he understood everything. And she didn’t know the boys were terrifying him. 

The boys walked over to where Trent sat in the grass. “Retard, I hope you die,” said Pete with his ugly red face. “I’m tired of your stupid noises.” This made Trent feel really depressed. It felt like falling into a giant dark hole. Loud sounds were always coming out of his mouth that he couldn’t control. “Try feeling like me,” Trent thought. “It isn’t that I want to. I can’t help it. How would you like to feel like this throughout every minute of your life.” The boys threw pieces of grass at Trent. They found his keyboard in his

backpack and threw it in the dirt. 

Trent was really tired of being treated like this. He tried to hide but there was nowhere to go that they couldn’t find him. They treated him like he was the worst person in the world. Trent was so deeply depressed. He felt hopeless and he had no one to turn to for help. 

Trying to end his pain, Trent desperately reached out to God to help him. Trent thought as hard he could. “TELL THEM TO STOP! Help them to understand they need to treat people with respect and kindness. PLEASE GOD.”

The most amazing thing happened then. Suddenly Pete was flying up to the top of the tree! He hollered and screamed. That red face got white as a sheet. Trent felt amazing. God had finally heard him. 

God’s voice said, “Trent is my trusted friend. Treat him how you would treat me.” Trent smiled and told God it was okay to let Pete down.  Pete floated down to the ground like a leaf. He raced over to Trent. “I’m sorry Trent,” he said. “It hurts to be scared. I’m sorry I scared you so many times. Friends, okay?”

There was Trent’s secret wish to somehow make a friend and he immediately forgave Pete. He had only love in his heart. He tried to pick-up his keyboard but he dropped it. Pete picked it up and handed it to Trent. “Want me to help you spell, Trent?” 

Trent spelled, “I love you and understand you. I know you don’t intend to hurt. I hope you realize you’re the ignorant one.” 

“Upsetting you was ignorant,” Pete said. “I agree.”

He understood that Trent was equally smart and even more importantly kind. He realized he has always been his friend. From then on, each day Trent taught him how to treat others with respect and kindness.


The author points to letters to spell his words.

Joshua is a poet and songwriter in Tucson, Arizona. He is autistic and speaks by typing. His goal is to type independently. He hopes for autistics to be understood, respected, and treated with kindness. 


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