Overcoming the Odds: Teen paves way for others with autism

- It takes a lot of courage for a high school junior to stand up in front of a classroom full of seniors and deliver a presentation. But for Christian Reniere, it took a lot of work to get here.

To understand that, let's go back to the beginning. Christian was born, a happy little boy. But his mother carina noticed he was developing differently than the rest of the children his age. When it was time for kindergarten, there were noticeable setbacks. Carina says within two months he was rocking in a corner, and showing all the symptoms of autism.

The Renieres moved to Northport, Long Island, for the school system. Christian worked with a one-on-one aide through elementary and middle school.

But his freshman year, Christian claims his individualized education program wasn't implemented for four weeks. He grew frustrated, yelled at the teacher and was suspended from school for two days, a punishment Christian felt was unfair. He told the school board just that but he was cut off.

Since then, Christian has made strides in and out of the classroom. He has made a solid group of friends and is enrolled in driver's ed.

At school, he works with Kasey Macpherson, a speech language pathologist a few times a week working on social interactions.

Sometimes it is hard for Christian to find the right words. He has found another way to express himself through his passion, which is photography. Christian took a photography class last summer and captured many beautiful moments. He put together a slideshow of his work and presented it to this 12th grade English class. It was chance for Christian's peers to see the world through his lens.

Christian's presentation closed out the first-ever Autism Awareness Week at Northport High School. The hallways were covered in blue, which has been his longtime dream.

It may be tough for Christian to find the right words, but when he does, we should all stop and listen.

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