The Ones That Are Overlooked

Editors

While reading the book Life, Animated, the story of a child with autism is talked about through its pages. In this, it is found that they are very intelligent people, and they have an artistic imagination. I also know a young man who is artistic, and he is also a man with autism. However, it seems that these individuals are overlooked. These people are artists, something I have seen with my own eyes.

I have a friend. His name is Khalil Williams. He is a man of phenomenal talents and abilities, but many would never think this. He is a tall and handsome fellow, and he has a huge heart that is open to all he comes across. However, nobody will see this off hand. He is quiet, and he stays to himself. He is tall, almost like an oak tree in the middle of a field. He stands in silence, watching the world in his own, unique, way. He loves without end, within his vast heart of compassion. He treats all fairly, and he justly emphasizes his deep thoughts towards those he calls friend. Sadly, he is stereotyped. He is stereotyped in ways that most are not. “He is a tall African American male with dreads. He will not account to anything.” This is what was said by many.

Despite these terrible things, I know who this young man is. He is a writer, a musician, an artist, and he is a lovable man who cares about all those around him. I have seen his writing, and it is as if he has these images that dance across his mind and he uses them to expand on his thinking. He writes in the same mannerism as me. He is detailed, and he is vibrant in his language. His words seem to come alive, almost like the images that he has within his mind. I know I would love to see more of his writing, and he writes when he has a strong burst of anxiety. I do the same when my anxieties are high, and I relate to him on a certain level because of these anxieties.

He is a profound musician. He listens to much instrumental stuff, especially from Disney films. Khalil enjoys the nuances, it seems. I notice a difference in his body language if it is one of his favorite parts. He seems to flow with the changes of the beat and pictures himself as part of the movie. It is always a joy to see in action. Khalil seems to become more alive and listens to the sounds of each instrument. Khalil likes music, and uses the music to help him with his art.

Khalil is an artist as well. His pictures seem basic, but they are actually very complex and hold characteristics of being real. Every piece of art that I have seen by Khalil makes me live inside the moment of the painting or picture. The details and the surroundings, the settings, the places, and the people all come alive. He once drew a picture of my ex-girlfriend and myself. She was wearing red and had eyes that shined like the stars in the havens, and I held the look of a man that was in love. Khalil’s art is supported greatly by his parents, and especially, his sister Kira. Kira helps inspire Khalil in his art as well. She admires him, and praises God for her brother.

Khalil drew a portrait once. It was a picture of all of his friends in one picture. There was myself with my fedora, and, at the time, my best friend. She stood next to me, and Khalil was pictured in between us. He made this very deep post and noted his sweet appreciation of us all for being his friends. His desire for friendship is so strong, yet it is taken advantage of too many times. Khalil is a wonderful man with many great talents.

This is the largest trouble with those with autism. They are shut out, left out, beaten down, and much worse, neglected. They are scapegoats in the classroom setting, and they are ignored by people that should respect them. In class, I learned that some teachers do not even know how to handle a child or person with autism. However, despite all of this opposition, Khalil was able to overcome the odds that were against him. He fought hard to get where he is today. His sister and mother helped him along the way and got him the care he needed. Khalil is a man with talents that should not be overlooked. When he started, he never got anywhere, but now he sells his own art to people that enjoy his works. He has an art page on Instagram, and to simply know this man for who he is – that is a blessing within of itself. Khalil is a brother to me, and he always will be. I wish that I was able to meet him sooner in life instead of so late. Khalil is a good friend to all, and just like the little boy in Life, Animated, he never let this issue stop him. He is my friend with autism, and that doesn’t change my outlook on him. I hold nothing but positive words for Khalil and his work. I wish I held those talents. He is a man of many talents, and a man of very few words.

I thank God that I was given the chance to talk with and be a friend to Khalil and his family. They have brought me a positive and creative outlook on life, and it was something that I needed. Khalil and his images have helped to inspire my imagination to grow. Not only was I inspired by the artwork , but also by his personality. Stay calm and let nature do its thing.