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Steven Atme

Steven Atme is a young man who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. He faced many difficulties growing up; speaking, understanding and following directions. Despite his diagnosis, Steven was never treated differently by his family and always encouraged to do his best. They made it their focus to teach him to speak and comprehend. At the age of 5, Steven started school where he was bullied because he was different from the other kids. Thanks to his former teacher, Maria Cordova, Steven learned how to read and write. He later started attending Summit School for students with disabilities. They further helped Steven academically and also helped with such aspects as speech therapy and social skills. At a young age, it was clear that Steven had a connection to music and loved playing on his toy keyboard. In spite of his limited vocabulary, Steven was able to sing along to any song he would hear. His parents got him an electric keyboard and from that day on, Steven was hooked. He taught himself how to play and soon started composing his own music. To further encourage him, Steven’s parents got him a piano and registered him for piano lessons in hopes that he would someday read music as well. At 17, Summit School granted Steven a scholarship to take piano lessons at McGill University's Conservatory of Music. It wasn’t long before he was reading music. Steven is also a member of The I Can Dream Theatre Group; a theatre group for adults with special needs. For their productions, Steven gets to act, dance, sing and play the piano. Steven spoke at the EMSB KINDERgarten launch where he shared the experience of what it was like for someone with Autism being bullied and how he persevered.  It has always been a dream of Steven’s to speak with people with disabilities; to encourage them to embrace who they are and to follow their dreams. Steven writes for Inspirations Newspaper; a special needs newspaper across Montreal where he shares his thoughts and experiences. He’s also a member of Giant Steps Advisory Committee. While volunteering at Saint Joseph's Oratory, his idea was to organize a mass for people with special needs and gave a speech titled, "Special People Have Dreams" where he shared his experiences of living as a non-verbal child and how he has succeeded in embracing his talents and passions. Steven also gives piano lessons to people with and without special needs.

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