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Why I Walk - Michael Mendon 

Thursday, March 10, 2011 View Comments

My Name Is Michael Mendon And I Have Autism. At first, I walked because I wanted to help myself. At that time, all I ever wanted was acceptance for 'who I am.' Being 'different' was difficult and lonely. It seemed I was alone, even when surrounded by people, I still felt alone. Sometimes I just wanted to be like everyone else because it is easier. As I became more involved in helping with the walk, people didn't even notice any of my 'abnormalities.' It gave me the only thing that I ever wanted - - acceptance. Every year, when we have the walk, I look forward to and enjoy spending time with all of my autism friends. They 'get' my sense of humor and appreciate me for who I am. If I could have two wishes granted, one would be that every day everyone would be as accepting and understanding of autism as they are on the day of our walk.  

Everyone understands and no one cares. My second wish would be to tell everyone that autism is not sad or tragic to 'us' -- it can be a gift. When our apartments burned down, everyone told me that i had to keep helping them and that I wasn't allowed to 'shut down', and that no matter what happens, I have to 'stay with them'.  Other people did not understand. Then, my mother said, "It is ok.   You do whatever it takes to get through this and take care of yourself. 

Just promise me that you will come back to me." I know sometimes it is hard to understand, but when your child 'zones out', they are going to the most "perfect place" to take care of themselves.  But I promise that they will come back to you, even though this place inside is so perfect. There is always one thing that can bring them back, and that one thing is YOU and the people that they love and care about.  

Even  though it may seem like they are still 'gone,' you are the reason that they ever leave this perfect world. People with autism are happy in their own little worlds. That is how we handle things when they are too much.  

That is how we take care of ourselves. We just need your help to understand 'our worlds' and give us a reason and a way to come out and stay in your world and make it ours. I walk to see and know that I am not alone. I walk so you can see and know that you are not alone. We want to know why you walk! Email us at editors@autismspeaks.org and you can be featured here! Interested in joining 'Walk Now For Autism Speaks?' Visit here!

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