Distinctively Human

This year there were lots of kids participated in the run in the South Anchorage high school in Alaska. First one to win will receive a free membership to the” challenger Soccer camp” which was very favorite of Amber after the books & the video games. She waved to her mom and walked slowly towards the playground. All the other kids were laughing to see that Amber was participating with them but this time Amber was determined to win. She took the farthest line closer to the track and breathed in the fresh air& started to visualize the race then the track blurred below her as Amber felt a surge of adrenaline, beads of sweat rolled down on the forehead. As soon as she heard the whistle, she started running faster and faster towards the finish line, felt the wind rushing by her. Her legs were cramping but she had to keep up to win this race, nobody can tease her again for not winning. Suddenly the roar of thunder distracted her, and she opened her eyes wide with a pounding heart. It was raining hard outside with lightning and thunder. Amber was scared to the sound of thunder. She covered her face with a big pillow and tried to hum a little prayer to calm her own mind by muttering to herself that ,” It was just a dream and the thunder will pass away, rain will stop soon, and then there will be plenty of sun shine, a beautiful rainbow”.

Amber is a very intelligent &, brilliant 16 years old high school student. Her favorite subjects are math, logic and music. She loves to read books and play video games. But somehow she is very different from the other kids in her school. They like to play in groups, listening to loud music, going to movies together which have never happened with Amber. It was hard for her to be in the school with so many kids all day long, so most of the time in the elementary school; she used to hide under the table or sneaked out from the school. She did not know how to talk or make friend, being close to others made her very uncomfortable. All she wanted was to be alone far from the crowd and noise. Loneliness was the only comfort she wished for. Most of the students were surprised to see Amber’s behavior and even she was bullied by the kids in the school. When the bully became physical Amber got more scared to go to school One day after school she came home and locked herself in the room for three four hours. Her parents requested to open the door and talked to them but Amber did not listen .Next morning Amber hugged her mother and cried not to let her go to the school, she did not want to face the bullies. Her mom understood the pain Amber was going through and tried to console her by saying that “Do not run away from a challenge because you are afraid, instead run towards it and that is the only way to escape the fear, so be brave”. After that incident her parents moved her to few different schools to make sure that Amber can stay safe and enjoy learning.

Amber loved to come home and sit on the rocking chair in the dining room, watched her mom cook and just rock for a long time, even she loved to go up and down on the stair cases . Her another favorite time was the weekend in the library where her interest in books grew with the passing of time and with each visit to the library with mother. She had even more fun playing video games with her dad in a stretch for hours until her win the game. In one of the summer break Amber was playing in the computer when she discovered the free foreign language classes. In her spare time she tried to learn the different languages from French to Spanish, German and Chinese. But her fear for the crowd, eye contact with strangers, in- tolerance to noise did not stop. She wanted to stay alone in her room most of the time which bothered her parents. Even one day in the lunch break Amber’s principal found her alone in the far end of the auditorium hiding under the table.

The school principal suggested her parents to do some comprehensive evaluation tests to determine her social anxiety. It was not that easy for her parents with minimum income but they tried their best to bring happiness to Amber’s life. They took Amber for Psychological & neurosurgical evaluation where they discovered about the Asperger syndrome is a type of pervasive developmental disorder which involve delay in the development of many basic skills, almost notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate. The counsellors helped her in learning and understanding different body languages, how to adapt to different situations, different social skills, how to meet challenging behaviors, how to speak in a more natural rhythm, how to interpret communications such as gesture, eye contact, tone of voice, humor etc. As the treatment continued it brought more confidence in Amber and later towards the end of high school she seemed happier in her school.

It was the final concert in Amber’s high school class. The auditorium was full with all the parents and guests. That evening Amber in the first chair played the” Four seasons” by Vivaldi and “ Ode to Joy” close to Beethoven’s ninth symphony . After the symphony when the principal handed out the award for Amber’s best performance in Math and music, her parents stood up and cheered for Amber with all the other parents and teachers in the auditorium. Amber was overjoyed, tears streaming down on her cheeks but she tried to stand fearlessly on the stage to give the speech to show her gratitude to all the teachers, students and her parents. Even she forgave the students who use to bully her all the time. That was the most beautiful day in Amber’s life. At home, after the dinner her mom was washing the dishes, when Amber sneaked from behind hugged her. She thanked her for giving the new life to face all the challenges and to stand out in the crowd.

That night Amber scribbled on her diary that’ I have given this life because I am strong enough to live it and I won’t lead an ordinary life… I can lead an extra ordinary life.’ Today she is not scared to the dark so she switched off the light and climbed on to her bed with a big smile. It was the same dream again like the other nights about the race, but this time it was a very comfortable race, she was determined and strong to win. As soon as Amber heard the whistle, she felt the contraction in her leg muscle and pushed the legs forcefully against the ground and started running like the wind as fast as she could to reach the finish line.


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