Advocating for Acceptance

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 View Comments

This post is from Linsey Schmid which 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

My name is Linsey Schmid. I am a 19 year old college student, and I am on the autism spectrum. My correct diagnosis is PDD-NOS. I struggled with my disorder my whole life, until senior year of high school. 

During the beginnings of my last year in high school, I became more of an advocate for myself, and others. My school did not have much of a special education program, so I had to learn to speak up for myself, and my needs in classes. I had always wanted to start a club at my school, and to be a role model  for other people like me, and help others out at my school, so I started the Disabilities Awareness Club. I had two other members, and my school’s librarian had a son with Asperger’s, so I was able to go forward with it. During the year.

We met the more disabled kids at my school, and hung out with them. My group and I played board games with them, and had a Christmas party, where we made snowflakes and ornaments. The next semester, the group kept meeting with them, and my group even raised awareness for autism during April, and raised money for the Autism Society of North Carolina. I was able to send them money to help other families in North Carolina affected by autism and autism spectrum related disorders.

Sadly, after I graduated, the group did not continue, but so far, in my freshman year of college, I have shared my story with other people, and joined the disAbilities club, and am helping counsel other children in high school similar to me. What I have is not a curse, it is a gift.

Temple Grandin said two things 1) We should be focusing on what the child CAN do, not what the child CAN’T do,” and “ We are different, but not less.” I live by those two quotes, and I hope to continue do so.

Have a story you want to share of living on the autism spectrum? Tell us about it at InOurOwnWords@Autismspeaks.org and you could be featured in our next blog post!