By Brieann Yimoyines Papp, M.S., CCC-SLP, President and Founder
Thursday, December 15th was an exciting day, as we sent another round of teens back out into the world after having spent 14-weeks with us at PEERS®. Their hard word for each of the lessons we addressed on a weekly basis has surely impacted their lives and through the reports of their parents in the PEERS® parent group, as well as in the participation of the teens, they leave us as changed individuals and we could not be more proud!
Enjoy the pictures of our PEERS graduation!
We also want to share a poem written by one of our PEERS® participants prior to starting this group with the support of his family and Miss Brieann. What a powerful message Daniel writes below to share with all of us about his feelings, perspectives, and desires. We wanted to share this poem with you all as these words have resonated with our hearts and have touched us not only as therapists but also personally in our own lives! Enjoy Daniel’s amazing and impactful message!
The Life of Daniel
This poem is about me and my life. My name is Daniel, I am 16 years old, I attend a Transition Program and I’m autistic.
And that means it’s hard for me to talk to any of you.
Years ago, I was an anti socialist, which meant I didn’t care about talking to any of you, but now I do. I feel lonely all the time and what I’m looking for is friends that love and care for me or to find a girlfriend. I want to find someone to relate to and go out on dates with and someone that will make me feel happiness, peace, and safety.
I have creative thoughts and ideas that I didn’t have the guts to show them to anyone in public, or in private, or even myself. I creatively think about ideas for TV shows, movies, web series, and video games. I creatively practice and mimic voices that I’ve heard throughout my life even though some were not as fluent or perfect as I can make it out. I try to perfectly capture a person’s voice.
The thing that bothers me is that I don’t have a social life. I want a group of people and friends that I can talk to and that I can relate to. I see myself going places with people, talking about anything, and having a great time together.
Right now, I see myself trying to talk to a person but get easily turned away by anxiety. I feel like I don’t know what to say and feel like I could get rejected by a few poor choice of words. What’s common is that I”m easily annoyed by other annoying students. People who constantly do annoying things like talking about the same topics, making unfunny jokes, not giving me personal space, and mocking me. How would that make you feel if someone did that to you?
At home, I have 2 brothers that don’t love or care about me. This makes me feel like I’m rejected out of my own family. I want to play video games with them, play sports, talk, and show me what I”m supposed to do by leading by example; especially when its hard for me to talk to others. Overtime I’m around someone I understand how hard it is to talk to them. And that makes me feel anxious, nervous, and sad.
I have found through experience that I don’t get everything I want because I always open my mouth about it. I get stuck on it. I also get disturbed by TV shows, moves, or web series that have darker and edgier tones that I can’t stand. What I also can’t stand is how no-one accepts or notices me. And I want to be noticed so badly.
This is how I see myself, what I want for myself, and how I feel about myself. I look forward to having a better life that I have dreamed of that has friends, a close family, people to talk to, and happiness, peace, and safety.