This guest post is by Alex Hale a young adult living on the spectrum proving that autism does not have him, he has autism. Through his initiative MY I’MPOSSIBLE DREAM, it is his vision to bring awareness and tolerance to those who will listen and to those who will consider listening! It is not just about his dreams, it is about the dreams of possibilities and the opportunities that await those that want to achieve. This post 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.
Before you read my story, understand there may be bright spots, but I want to keep this real. Although it has its ups and downs, my life continues to be a daily struggle. So when did it start? I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD at the age of 6 and since that day, my life hasn't been easy. I've read some stories here and I see a lot of "roses and daisies" stories. This is real.
Now for parents and even people on the spectrum, the challenges I've faced with autism, I wouldn't trade for anything. It's made me a better person in the long run. The key to overcoming as much as I have is simple - adaptation. Now that's a word for people on the spectrum that is almost in a foreign language. How did I learn that? I learned it from my parents, who wisely suggested I do things, but never insisted. It made me regret things in life that today I've learned from most of them.
Now when you have autism, I've classified it mostly as having a social disorder. We have our own language, which makes my ability to sing and perform in such a unique way so special. To sum up my social life, I have zero friends and I’ve never gone on one date. I’m alone.
But to parents and those on the spectrum, it doesn't rattle me; it motivates me to try to improve on that. I was bullied in school and my school punished me instead of the bullies. Girls were scared to go out with me. I felt like my autism was a curse.
The only time they didn't see it was when I performed. It was my escape, my way to express what I was feeling. Talent show night in school was my night to shine and people knew it. By the time High School ended for me, I was starting to get accepted because people finally saw the good side, rather than the bad.
One of my favorite moments was opening last year for James Durbin here in Cleveland at the Agora. For music people, that is the same building where Alan Freed come up with the name Rock N Roll when it just started to get popular. That night was amazing to be in a building with so much history and to open for a performer who I believe should’ve won American Idol. It was an absolute honor and more importantly, a night that made me realize I could perform for a living.
Now let's go back to the reality part. A doctor once told me I'd be lucky to finish high school. They also said I wasn't going to college and would likely "mop floors and live in a halfway house" for the rest of my life. Nobody ever gave me a chance, not even a lot of my immediate family. It wasn't until I failed at the University of Akron and went to another school when they accepted me for who I was.
I'll admit outside of my parents, I've had ZERO support. My brother even left my family and ditched me, a person who was my role model. You ask yourself, "How can one deal with this?" It's easy; people told me it was IMPOSSIBLE. You know what I see? I'M POSSIBLE. No matter how many people have doubted me, I continue to overcome.
Last year at Progressive Field, I started my initiative; My Impossible Dream. My goal is to raise awareness for autism to help people accept who we are. I hope to make an album through my Kickstarter and when it's released, the money I make will go back to autism awareness.
While I can't explain my whole story, it is going to be released as a book here in the very near future. What you read here is only a fraction of the story. What I'll say to wrap this up is this. Parents; our children have potential so don't listen to anyone, find what they love to do and let them grow around what they love.
For people on the spectrum, IMPOSSIBLE MEANS I'M POSSIBLE. Do what you love, live your life, and fulfill all your hopes and dreams. They told me it couldn't be done, why can't you do it too?
September 20th – Rochester, NY Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Week of September 20th – Tentative Speaking Engagements in Rochester, Cooperstown & Saratoga Springs, NY
October 4th - Canton Walk Now for Autism Speaks
October 11th - Columbus Walk Now for Autism Speaks
November (Date to be announced) Speaking engagement in Michigan
September 2015 – Begin Planning Entertainment and Weekend Concert Series for Cleveland Walk 2016