By Dania Herrera ’19 and Atziri Tapia ’19
A boy with a smile on his face, walking around everyday up and down the aisles of the cafeteria greeting every student he knows, Ali says, “How you been?’’ His charisma enlightens everyone’s day. He’s a very friendly person, and he always has a smile on his face. Ali Moreno, a sophomore, has a different way of living his life inside and outside of Pritzker.
At school, Moreno has a personal teacher who accompanies him throughout his classes. Magdalene Biernat, a sophomore advisor and a paraprofessional, helps Moreno with his education at Pritzker. Moreno said that Biernat is with him in mostly all of his classes except History. Yvonne Moreno, Ali’s mother, said that at first she began to experience issues with teachers because they did not understand the role of Moreno’s parents. Now, his mother is grateful for all of the help the teachers provide for his son and also for the staff understanding her situation. ‘’ Biernat is awesome, and I know I can trust her with my son,’’ she said. Moreno’s mother says she appreciates that other Pritzker students acknowledge him, and she knows others won’t pick on him. That’s why Moreno’s mother also mention how she is not worried to send her son to school because she knows kids won’t bully him. Moreno says,’’ Biernat is a good teacher. She is here to help me, and she treats me with good respect.’’ Moreno also mentioned how he likes when Biernat gives him merits for doing good things. He also adds, ‘’ I like the school and I get along with the teachers.’’ He isn’t involved in any clubs, but he is very interested in wanting to join a club. His mother asks Moreno everyday about how he is treated at school even though she knows that students understand what Moreno is going through.
When Moreno was a child, his mother, said Moreno, didn’t communicate with other students. “He would always be by himself playing alone.” This caught her attention and wanted to find out what was happening with her son since his social interaction with other students was different. When Moreno was in kindergarten, his mother found out that Moreno was diagnosed with Autism, which according to autismspeaks.org, Autism is, ’’ a term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.’’ Moreno’s mother said, “ even though he has autism I still treat him like any other kid. I have a 10 year old son, and I both treat them equally. There is no difference between them. I would have to say that he’s outgoing, a quick learner, happy, a carefree person, respectul, and a very helpful person.” She says that he acts like any human being in the world. She also added that on his free time he enjoys being on his phone, watching TV, and playing video games.
Moreno eventually learned how to communicate with others by his mom and dad trying to work with him by socializing. With a smile on her face she also mentioned how Moreno isn’t a challenge for her to handle and is proud of his son. ‘’Very good kid and I’m very proud.’’ she said.
She also mentioned that Moreno has some days where he’s feeling down. Everyday, he experiences a routine that she has done with her son in the past 10 years where they have to do the same things daily in order for him to have a good day.
All in all Moreno is a respectful individual. Even though, he is very different from all of us he continues to be his own self in a world where he is appreciated and respected by students and teachers. It’s Ali’s world.