A classroom speech by an eleven-year-old fourth-grader in Chino Valley, California has gone viral. The student, Rumari Zalez, revealed his autism diagnosis to his classmates, who were working on a project for April’s Autism Awareness Month.
“He was so excited,” Rumari’s teacher, Lisa Moe, was quoted as saying in a report by InsideEdition.com. “He has a very good grasp on autism and how the spectrum works. He was talking about how it was a blessing. His mom tells him that he is a blessing every day.”
Moe shared the video on Instagram, describing how she was moved to tears by Rumari’s speech, and the compassionate, supportive response from his fellow students.
“If I were unable to ever teach again or if there was ever a question to my path into this role as an educator, this moment solidified my purpose,” Moe wrote in her Instagram post. “With permission from Rumari’s parents, I wanted to share with you this moment.”
Rumari’s parents, Olivia and Rudolpho Zalez, were equally impressed by their son’s bravery and confidence in volunteering to speak in front of his class about such a personal issue.
“We were extremely impressed and just shocked,” Rudolpho was quoted as saying. “It’s difficult to stand up and just talk in front of your peers but especially about something like this, and for him to be so brave and just raise his hand and ask.”
According to Inside Edition, Rudolfo Zalez acknowledged the challenge of autism, but described his son as an “amazing kid with an amazing personality and probably one of the biggest hearts.”
“He cares for everyone and is cautious for everyone’s feelings and emotions,” Zalez said. “We’re blessed.”