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I have autism and got to sing at Madison Square Garden!

This guest post is by Rachel Barcellona, a young adult on the autism spectrum and reigning Miss Florida Collegiate 2015.  Rachel’s platform “The Ability beyond Disability” is focused on autism and related disabilities. You can learn more about Rachel here. 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.

Rachel recently got to do something pretty cool at Madison Square Garden which she explains below...

Being involved in the autism community has always been important to me. It started with volunteering and working with CARD-USF and has grown over the years to allow me to spread hope and autism awareness throughout the nation.

I love to meet new people and volunteer. I am involved with pageantry and this has helped me be my own personal best. My platform the “ability beyond disabilities” has helped create more awareness not only for autism but for a lot of people with disabilities.

I believe I mentioned in a previous post how much I love to sing! I started taking vocal lessons 2 years ago and love it! I have a wonderful vocal coach Roseanne who I see once a week and really look forward to our time together.

I recently was honored to sing Gold Bless America at Madison Square Gardens before The New York Liberty faced the Minnesota Lynx on August 28th. It was an amazing experience, and I got to sing at center court to a crowd of over 11,000 people! The greatest part was that the people from Madison Square Gardens contacted me the very next day and want me back to sing again at an even larger event. I will let you know when I get to go back.

It was an experience I will never forget! 

Have a story you want to share for our “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum,” series? Email us at


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.