Autism means a lot of different things to different people. For me, autism is a part of who I am. It's made me who I am today and I wouldn't change it for the world.
Autism has its challenges, but it's also given me some amazing gifts. I'm more creative and I have a very good memory than most people and that's because of my autism. I wouldn't want to be without it.
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My Personal Story With Autism
When I was younger doctors and teachers told my parents a long list of things I cannot do because I am Autistic. My parents helped me in every which way they could.
They got me speech therapy, occupational therapy, and something else which I forget the name of. One thing that teachers told my parents was that I wouldn’t be able to read higher than a second-grade level.
I interacted little with kids my own age back then because I felt alienated from the other students. Also, I did not know how to socially interact well with others.
My parents and my school enrolled me in a social support group to help me interact with others better. However, they sure had a funny way of showing that the support group was there to help me.
They took me out of class randomly which annoyed me to no end because people on the Autism Spectrum like their routines and schedules.
Looking back at it now, I would love to ask that social support group how am I supposed to interact with students my age, if you keep taking me out of class?
Throughout my time in public schools, I got bullied a lot. I am not sure why maybe it was because I was nearly obese for my age group back then? Or perhaps it was because I am Autistic? Either way, I hated school back then.
It started in 3rd grade and ended in 11th grade. I went through a long battle of depression and anger. In 11th grade, I stood up to the bullies after losing 30 pounds with P90X.
After high school, I took 3 years off to figure out what I was going to do. I had different odd jobs then I decided I wanted to go to college. So I enrolled in my community college.
College has been challenging for me because colleges are not set up to accommodate people with different learning styles. After 5 major changes in college, I majored in media studies.
So one day I can pay it forward to the next generation of students who have different learning styles. That’s why I moved forward in my career as an Autism advocate and motivational speaker.
The reason I shared with you a glimpse of my life on the Autism Spectrum is that I wanted to bring hope to people. We can have a life of our own even if we learn differently at our own pace.
Life is a challenge for everyone but it's a little more challenging for us because society wants to change us. That’s one of the reasons why the Autism community no longer tolerates or listens to Autism Speaks.
For so long they wanted to “cure Autism” for some reason which still bothers me. Autism is not a disease, it is a different way of life. I wouldn’t be who I am if I was not Autistic.
Growing up my parents, friends, and extended members of my family never told me I was Autistic. They loved me for who I am. I got in trouble for many things as a kid.
But let's be honest we all got into trouble when we were kids. To be honest with all of you, I didn’t know that I was Autistic until 11th grade when I went to my own Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meeting.
I am grateful to my friends, family members, and extended family for not treating me differently. I don’t know how I would feel or react back then if someone told me I am Autistic. I am glad I found out on my own.
The challenges I've Faced
I was bullied
Some people did not want to be my friend
People excluded me from certain things
Some teachers and doctors placed limitations on me even before I started learning
I live with spinal stenosis every day
My knees point inward which makes me more prone to injuries
What Are The Positives Of Living With Autism
We pay attention to small detail
Honesty is our best policy
We are very punctual
We love to learn visually
We have great imaginations
Our brains can memorize and hold information longer
We are always figuring out alternative solutions to our problems
We rely on our schedules and routines
Related: the benefits of special interests in autism - spectrumnews
What Are The Negatives Of Living With Autism?
There are many problems with having Autism like:
It’s hard to make friends
Reading facial cues can be very hard for us
Society is not very welcoming towards us (but getting there)
Some people and organizations want us to be “cured” for some reason
Some people think having Autism is the end of the world. It’s not, we can still have a meaningful life
When we are diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum an unfair list of cannot’s are placed upon us
People sometimes have to repeat answers to our questions in 100+ different ways in order for us to understand
College is not always an option for us
Related: Autism complications - Healthline
Conclusion: What Autism Means To Me Now
When I was younger, I did not like feeling different. Sometimes I felt like an alien from outer space. But now that I am older I am glad I am different.
If we were all the same we would wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, drive the same cars, and live in the same house. That would be a scary world to live in.
Today I embrace my Autism because it makes me who I am. Without it who would I be? Even though I went through a lot of adversity in life I wouldn’t want it any other way.
If everything just came naturally to me I would be a very boring motivational speaker and Autism advocate to listen to. Autism is just another way of life and we all need to remember that.
How Does Autism Affect Daily Life?
Autism can affect our social interactions with others. It can also impact our learning because we are visual learners.
Can A Person With Autism Go To College?
Yes, people on the Autism spectrum can go to college. Though many of us will not go to college because colleges do not have the support that we all need.
Can Autistic People Drive?
People with Autism can drive but some may only like to drive locally because they can’t focus for long car drives which are very dangerous.
Can Autistic People Live Alone?
Some Autism people can live alone while some can’t because they do not know how to cook, shop, clean, and pay bills.
Can Someone With Autism Get Married?
Yes, my friend and business partner Dina Buno is married to her husband. They are both on the Autism Spectrum. Check out Dina’s documentary called Dina is Dina in Dina to learn more about her.
Do People With Autism Have Empathy?
Most of us can feel empathy for others. But we may struggle with it from time to time. Just remember we are humans and we make mistakes.
What Jobs Are Good For High Functioning Autism?
Detailed-oriented jobs like coding and testing websites for usability issues. But always figure out your strengths and what you are good at before applying for a job.
How Can I Be Successful With Autism?
Ask for help when needed. Seek advice from Autism communities there. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Remember CrazyFitnessGuy as a resource.
Can Autism Be Cured?
No, there is no cure for Autism. Remember we are not lab rats who want to be changed. We were born with Autism its not a disease and it does not need to be cured.
Can Autism Be A Gift?
Even though some days can be a challenge living with Autism. Autism is a truly unique gift that lets me see things from a unique point of view. It all depends on how you look at it.
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