2017 Autism Advocacy Project writer honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2017 Autism Advocacy Project writer Rithik Sinhasan recently won first place in the Junior High Special Needs division of West Chester & Liberty's "Making the Grade Contest", which honors and celebrates the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Students were asked to write a letter to Rev. Dr. King and report to him the grade they would give the country regarding its progress in living the dream for equality that he spoke about. Students then also graded themselves in how well they are promoting unity. 

In the spirit of honor and gratitude to Rev. Dr. King, Lynx Project is proud to share Rithik's award-winning piece:


Making the Grade Lifelong

Dear Dr. King,

     This great country is going through some challenging times. In general, people are displaying mean, hateful behavior towards those who are different. Party politics makes people choose party over ideas so little progress happens. Ideologies that were hateful are growing prolific. Public schools have a hard time maintaining discipline and teaching interesting curriculum. Overall, society right now scores a D grade in living the dream for equality.

     Great leaders are needed to draw people together and come up with solutions to complex issues. Churches and other places of worship should take the lead in understanding all types of people. Spending time with people is the best way to get to know them. I would suggest conversations between government leaders and the people they represent, different faith community members, teachers and students, neighbors reaching out to neighbors. People should look beyond such things as money, religion, race and class. 

     I have autism and personally experience discrimination all the time. Generally, people look at my behaviors and make assumptions about me. Lots of times, I am forced to just suffer in silence. People misunderstand autism. They see someone who is fond of certain things that they do repetitively. They do not understand that this is a calming mechanism. Coping with high anxiety is an everyday occurrence. It is thought that people with autism are not social or loving. This is not true. People with autism have difficulty processing sensations and get overwhelmed with loud sounds and crowded spaces.

     I give myself a B grade in living the dream for equality. I advocate for fellow autistic children by speaking on a panel at a quarterly meeting at Children’s Hospital. I like to meet people and share my experiences. Having a way to communicate gives me freedom, bringing forth opportunities to interact with many interesting people. I have met many kind and caring individuals in the autism community, at church, at school and other places.

     Loud voices have to be drowned out by thoughts of hope and healing. It is good to think that we are all part of one race, the human race, and share one planet. This makes it easy to feel empathy towards each one of our fellow human beings and problems are resolved.



Caitleen Kahn