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Calls to Action

My Journey as a Teenager on the Spectrum

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

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.

Learn how the world will Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness on April 2nd here.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.