Celebrating Autism Awareness Month


Evero Corporation

The Autism Awareness Icon

The month of April is known as Autism Awareness month. Here at RHS we have ten students special to our hearts, many are also supported by amazing teachers.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, which is restricted by repetitive behaviors. Autism has such a wide spectrum that no one diagnosis can be placed in a box. 

Everyone learns differently, and it is the same way for individuals with autism. Senior Austin Murray and junior Conner Tarvin are two students at RHS who have autism, but they are both very different. 

Many staff and students believe they know Austin Murray, but most do not know his secret super power. Murray has an excellent memory. He can recall the names of actors, producers, writers, as well as all of the names and professions that can be found in the end credits of movies. 

Murray can also remember dates and facts about the people he meets such as their birthday’s, their childrens’ names’, pets’, the pets’ birthdays, everyones age, cars they drive, and other important events in the lives of those people. 

Mrs. Kappesser, intervention specialist, stated, “I love it when we come back from Thanksgiving break and Austin wishes me a happy birthday and tells me how old I am. He always remembers. He does the same for everyone.”

Tarvin also has a great memory, but in the history part of the world. Tarvin is insanely smart with the dates and explaining what happened during different events throughout our world’s history. 

For students with autism, structure is a very important thing. Keeping a routine is very important for them to be able to learn in an efficient way. During the COVID shutdown last Spring it was very hard on these students’ learning abilities because their worlds got flipped upside down. 

Kappesser stated, “They do better with a schedule and consistency. Change is difficult for everyone, especially for those with autism. That’s why it’s important for me as an intervention specialist to notify my students of any schedule changes. It is also important to try to keep class consistent.”

Tarvin is very big on structure. Teachers at RHS teach in all different styles, which can make it hard for any student. Mrs.Kappesser, Mrs.Kaufman and Mrs.Thompson all try to make it easier for the students who need some extra support. 

“With each semester and quarter, subject material changes, for me it’s the style of how things are given. I took Mrs. Mitchell’s biology class and it was very chill and laid back, but I then moved on to an AP class and it was very uptight and we were told to read multiple chapters a night,” stated Tarvin.

This change can be hard for anyone but especially challenging for Tarvin, though Kappesser and the other teachers try to give Tarvin and the other students the support they need to get through the class. 

The students’ receive numerous services from the teachers during the day and after school. The teachers help give extra direction during lessons, teach them different life skills, they spend extra time during tests by helping the students understand the questions better and the content. 

Tarvin stated, “They are dedicated, I know what they are supposed to do vs. what they do and they always go above and beyond. They help me out anytime even when they are not obligated to.”

“I love Mrs. Kappesser, she is my favorite, I am going to miss her so much next year” stated Murray. 

In the world, 1 in 270 people have autism. Some you may not realize and others you may. In the month of April they get recognized because of how awesome they really are. So are the teachers that work with them everyday and get to see what not many get to witness. 

“I would never change my job. The students are the highlight of my day, getting to see them learning new topics and seeing them doing things they never believed they could do is just a great feeling,” stated Kappesser.