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Sharing life skills through weather

Shelley Steeves, reporter
February 27, 2012 — A student in Halifax, Nova Scotia has a passion for weather. And now, she's using that passion to help her with her Autism.

Michelina presents the weather to her class
Michelina presents the weather to her class

Meet Michelina DiBacco. This young lady's inner spirit shines like a star! So no big surprise she's a celebrity at her school.

"Michelina is known throughout Citadel high school for being the weather girl," says Lynn Nickerson, an Education Program Assistant. 

Her fascination with weather started about 5 years ago when Michelina was in grade 7. 

"Since then, that's all she talks about," adds Nickerson. 

And her knowledge of weather likely rivals most Canadians.

"It's very interesting how there is different types of lightning," DiBacco tells us. "There's fork lightning, there's sheet lightning, there's cloud to cloud lightning and inter cloud lightning and cloud to ground lightning."

"Michelina has high functioning autism," says Nickerson. "She is very very bright in Math and very very bright in Sciences such as the weather."

And I bet you can guess what her favorite station is!

The weather helps Michelina cope on difficult days
The weather helps Michelina cope on difficult days

"It's not so much just the weather. It's a combination of The Weather Network and the weather," says Nickerson. "You guys have graphs and she loves graphs."

Autistic students like Michelina thrive on structure, which may be why she's so drawn to the weather.

And, in a way, her life mimics the weather.

With Autism, there are definite highs and lows, and days that are harder to predict, like when she struggles to pick up on social cues. She gets quite anxious talking to people.

But not in this moment.

Every day, like clockwork of course, she's called upon to present the daily forecast at her school. And any anxiety is gone with the wind.

This is when Michelina's inner spirit shines even brighter than the sun. 

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