This guest post is by Brandon Conner and is part of an initiative on our site called “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum,” which highlights the experiences of individuals with autism from their perspectives. Have a story you want to share for the series? Email us at InOurOwnWords@Autismspeaks.org
I was done finishing my last Accounting assignment for the week when my friend came up to marvel at what I had done. We began to draw up a conversation that eventually led to me saying to him, "I have autism." He replied, "There is no way you have autism. You're way too smart to have it." While I am used to hearing such stereotypes against people like me, I still felt emotional to the point where I almost yelled at him for saying it.
This was when I decided to make it my goal to get people to realize what is behind the skin of those who have been blessed with autism. Autism is not what society calls a disorder, and I hope that those like me will not let other people's opinions about them force them to change.
Being a teenager in the generation I live in can be a challenge. It is hard for me to fit in with my peers. When I press my hands together when I get excited, when I don't know how to reply to others or when I participate in socially embarrassing activities, it is hard for me to make friends that take me for who I am.
Many of my classmates would only take notice of me when they had me as a partner for a school project or when they asked me to copy down my homework. I feel used by this, which makes me think that my intelligence, granted by autism, is not being used the way it should be. It is because of this that I started acknowleding my gift at school. The differences in numbers were staggering, I estimated that the ratio between people who accepted me afterwards compared to the number of people who rejected me was nearly 20 to 1.
The benefits of having such a gift are too numerous to be written, typed or told. When my efforts and possibly the efforts of others make a difference to not only people like me, but to the general public, peace can endure for all makes and models of individuals. In the meantime, all I can hope is that my friend and the public will soon realize the misinformation provided by some people, My name is Brandon Conner and I now wait for the day when the public accepts people with autism.