Autistic student asks community to come to his graduation

Update: Read statements made by Caleb Maler’s parents and the Grants Pass School District here:

Grants Pass, , Ore. – “Caleb we are very, very proud of you,” Nelson Maler says to his son. “You have worked hard so that you can graduate on Friday.”

Nelson and Elizabeth Maler are just like any set of proud parents, waiting to see their son Caleb walk across the stage and accept his diploma from Grants Pass High School.  They have even helped him practice putting on his cap and gown.

But Caleb’s graduation wont be like his classmate’s.

“We were really concerned that he was walking alone,” says Nelson.

Caleb is autistic and because he can become easily over stimulated, the school thinks it’s best the Maler’s have their *own ceremony where Caleb is the only graduate.

“The school said that they wanted to honor Caleb’s work, but they didn’t think it was appropriate for Caleb to participate in the usual graduation ceremony,” Nelson explains.

While the Maler’s understand why the school made the decision, they were worried that the day may not be as special for Caleb, with an empty audience and no friends to celebrate with.  That’s why they are asking for help.

“We are hoping that we can get as many people as we can so that when he looks into that audience he will see a pool of supporters,” Caleb’s dad explains.  “Make it something that he will remember the rest of his life.”

The Maler’s are extending an open invitation to the entire community.

“You can come over and watch me graduate,” exclaims Caleb.

Nelson and Elizabeth want to make sure their son, who has worked so hard to accomplish what may come easy to other kids, gets all of the recognition and celebration he deserves.

Caleb will be receiving what is called an “extended diploma” that acknowledges the modified curriculum he has worked on for the past four years.

If you would like to join in celebrating Caleb, his graduation will be Friday, June 9th at 5 p.m. at Grants Pass High School.  Meet the Maler’s outside the Core Administration building in the Mel Ingram Field. 830 N.E. Ninth Street, Grants Pass.

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