Nashville, TN

 

At 3 years of age, she saw a shirt with the name “Berta” on it and asked, “Can that to be my name?” And that is what she goes by since. Some parents would shriek at the thought of giving their child that much freedom, but Berta is thriving. She has her own unique fashion sense and loves creating art. She makes and sells buttons for fun. Her parents are artists themselves which is why changing her name was probably no big deal. It is proof, however, that giving children the freedom to express themselves is not only a kinder thing to do but a healthier way for them to grow.

Berta isn’t afraid to tackle life’s struggles. She told us that her mother and older sister have Asperger’s and that it was sometimes hard to live with. In any other family, the youngest sibling receives most of the attention. Asperger’s, however, changes the nature of family dynamics. Subtle communication issues that have easy solutions can quickly become problems. Berta has to think about what she will say before she says it, which isn’t easy for someone her age. I’d like to note here that when we asked Berta’s mom if we could share her story about Asperger’s, she emphatically agreed that it needed to be told. We felt fortunate to work with such a fearless family.

Berta’s sense of fashion the day we met her was something like a cross between a punk rockstar and an astronomer. Her personality is too. It seems very likely that she will be thinking outside the box long after her teenage years. I am definitely not the first person to say this, but we need more rebellious creativity like Berta’s. We need to support it and we need to believe in originality again. For the sake of humanity, our world needs it.

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