Transcript of the presentation by Stefan Novaković at the 32nd Belgrade Ignite event “Get Involved 3” (29 October 2015, Impact Hub, Belgrade)
I am Stefan Novaković, I am 20 years old. I was born in Pančevo, where I completed primary and secondary school. I am here this evening to tell you a story about myself, but also to speak on behalf of all those they call children with special needs. That’s a silly name, because we all have special needs and we are all different, that’s what we all have in common.
People must understand that they all want to function independently and would like to go to kindergarten, school, and find work because they are useful for all of society. Here, I just enrolled at the History Department of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. I reached this point because I had support, primarily from my family, friends from school, teachers and psychologists.
Starting all over every time was not easy. When I started primary school, I had to learn the way to school, where my classroom was. […] In primary school I learned a lot of things, to be nice to my friends, to help them, and that if I do something wrong, I can correct it, as well as my friends’ mistakes. […] After primary school, back to square one. Learning the way to the Gymnasium, new friends, teachers, classrooms.
Now, as a student, I face a new challenge – Belgrade and faculty. At first, I was afraid I would not find my way around, I was bothered by the crowds and I saw people crossing the street when the traffic light was red. […] I was afraid the professors would be stricter and of how my new colleagues would accept me. I was afraid they would reject me for being different. I am different because I have poor contact with others. When someone asks me something, I am not sure how to answer, I have a bit of trouble finding adequate words. However, I’ve met new friends from other cities, sometimes they talk with me, sometimes I talk with them. […]
After faculty, I would like to find work, make a living and live independently, form a family when the time comes, and one day invite my friends to visit. I still have a bit of a problem in communication, but I learn. I would just like it if people were better and helped others in trouble and were honest. We have to look after ourselves, our environment, but also not create differences between people and not ridicule them.