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Changing the world one rock at a time

This guest blog post is by Antonio Monteiro, creator of the #WordRocks Project. Antonio is a young man on the autism spectrum. You can follow the Word Rocks Project on Facebook and Instagram.

Six years ago, I created a very simple idea: Word Rocks Project. The proposal was to scatter rocks painted with positive words for people to find. I’ve been leaving them randomly all over the world or delivering them to patients at a hospital. To my surprise, today the idea is a worldwide scavenger hunt to promote good vibes around the world.

My Story

I’m a Brazilian in California. We left our country ten years ago and first lived in Canada (Toronto) for almost four years. We moved then to San Diego where I live with my parents and my dogs Sgt. Pepper and Hey Jude.

In our first year here, to inspire herself, my mom picked a few rocks at the beach, wrote positive words on them and scatter throughout the house. When I arrived from school and saw the stones I said: this is so cool. Let’s paint a lot and spread them all over the city to make more people happy. And then six years went by.

The first #wordrocks where left around San Diego, California, where we live. Then they start to travel far and fast. Soon they were being left in Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Toronto, and a lot of other cities.

Working Together with My Mom

As my handwriting is not the best (part of the Asperger’s) , I paint the backgrounds and choose the quotes. My mom does the lettering work. Together we like to bring a positive feeling to the person who finds the rocks. It’s cool to know that I can bring hope or a smile through an anonymous gesture.

Finding Out I Have Asperger’s

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome right when I turned 14 years old. And a few days after starting High School. It was scary to know that my world was different from the rest of the people that I know. But it was also comforting to know that there was a reason for all my mixed feelings, anxiety and fears.

I tried to share it with some friends and people at school, but I ended up labeled as the weird one. Being bullied was hard, and my parents decided that will be better for me to be homeschooled. Now I go to a charter school.

Like a lot of people in the spectrum, my favorite place in the world is my bedroom where I feel safe and calm. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t have the wish to be with people. While I’m learning to be around them without anxiety and fear, Word Rocks Project is my way to keep contact with the outside world deeply.

My Message to the World

Sharing #wordrocks is my way not to feel alone and also my way to let people know that they are not alone. When someone finds a rock and share that it was the perfect message at the perfect time, I feel good as a human being.

This is my message to the world. We are all humans. We are all part of the same story. When we connect with people in a positive way, we are making the world a better place for all of us.

This blog is part of an ongoing series on our site called "In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum," which highlights the experiences of individuals with autism. Interested in contributing your story to our blog series? Email us at inourownwords@autismspeaks.org.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.