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Corner Brook’s Jonathan MacDonald grateful for his school’s show of respect for people with autism

Jonathan MacDonald, centre, didn’t feel like wearing his clothes inside out to help raise awareness for autism Friday, but is glad his Sacred Heart Elementary schoolmates, including Braeden Barnes, left, and Heidi Butt took part in Inside Out for Autism Day in Corner Brook Friday.
Jonathan MacDonald, centre, didn’t feel like wearing his clothes inside out to help raise awareness for autism Friday, but is glad his Sacred Heart Elementary schoolmates, including Braeden Barnes, left, and Heidi Butt took part in Inside Out for Autism Day in Corner Brook Friday. - Gary Kean

He doesn’t see it as that big of a deal, but Jonathan MacDonald still thinks it’s cool that his school helped draw awareness to autism Friday.

The Grade 4 student at Sacred Heart Elementary has autism, but he doesn’t let that define who he is.

“We’re just a tiny bit different, but we’re basically still the same as everyone else,” he explained.

MacDonald, 10, said he can sometimes get easily frustrated when things don’t go his way or he has to do things he doesn’t really want to. Lots of kids react like that, he said, acknowledging his reaction can sometimes be a little more extreme than others, especially when at school.

He also isn’t a fan of going outside when everyone else does during their free time at school.

“I usually go to the library and add bar codes to books and put them in the system,” he said of his preference. “I don’t know why I like doing that. It’s just fun to do.”

Like many other schools, Sacred Heart helped raise awareness of autism Friday by holding an Inside Out for Autism Day. Meant to be symbolic of some of the sensory sensitivities found along the autism spectrum, students and staff at schools were encouraged to wear their clothes inside out to show their understanding of how some people experience the world around them differently.

MacDonald, who loves to fix computers in his spare time and has his own YouTube channel about gaming and technology, didn’t feel like turning his clothes inside out Friday. Still, he truly appreciated all those who did take part in the show of compassion.

“It shows respect for people like us with autism,” he said.

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