We are inspired! These self-advocates have shared their stories of growing up with autism as part of our “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum” blog series. Have a story you’d like to share email us at InOurOwnWords@autismspeaks.org and you could be featured on our website!
Here are 10 of our most popular In Our Own Words blogs from 2015…
This guest blog post is by Ann Kagarise. Ann is a writer, self-advocate, photographer and assistant director at a school for children with autism. Ann writes, My father was my life and my hero. When I was 11 years old, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my father passed away. He was my everything. "I didn’t connect with a lot of people, but I connected with my dad. Today, I am an adult and it is many years later, but I remember and am thankful for my dad..." Read more of her blog here.
This blog post was written by photographer Rebekah McClelland, a mom on the autism spectrum with two sons. Rebekah writes, My boys and I think differently. We speak differently. We do things differently. I am a divorced single momma. I am also Aspie (have Aspergers). My oldest, who is 10, has been diagnosed as high functioning on the autism spectrum. My youngest, who is 5, has not been diagnosed but his pediatrician has been suggesting that I take him to be tested. It's on the "to do" list. Not at the top, not even in the top 10, but we will do it. Read more of the blog here.
This guest post is by David Powell, a young adult on the spectrum who attends Grand Valley State University. David writes, "The advice I leave for those with autism is this. Don't be afraid to express yourself still, you are still wonderful in every form. Find a strong core group of friends. Family will always be there for you." Read more of his blog here.
This video blog is by Anthony Ianni, the first-ever individual with autism to ever play Division I Basketball. Anthony has dealt with countless obstacles to get to where he is today. Anthony has played basketball with The Michigan State Spartans, coached by Tom Izzo. Since graduating from college he has now become a national motivational speaker, husband and father. Read more of his blog here.
Paul Morris, a 27-year-old self advocate with autism talks about growing up with autism at Autism Speaks 2015 National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. During his talk Paul discussed feeling different as a child and how he now has had several jobs and lives independently. Paul was greeted with thunderous applause for him sharing his story. Read more of his story here.
12-year-old Laque Youngblood, a boy with autism decided to combat bullying in his school by sharing information about autism with his classmates so they understood the disorder. In this inspiring blog Laque writes, "My classmates basically felt I was “not equal” to them, weird or an outsider, whatever that means. So I decided to teach them about autism. I was hoping they would understand something from MY perspective. Some classmates were now able to see me as a kid – just like them." Read more of his blog here.
This guest post was written by Dr. Lamar Hardwick, a husband, father, and pastor of a church located in Lagrange, GA. After decades of struggling with social anxiety, sensory processing issues, and other social disorder symptoms, Lamar finally received answers to his lifelong struggle when he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at age 36. Lamar writes, I don’t know if there has ever been a day that I haven't heard one phrase like this at least once. Sometimes I hear it multiple times a day. What’s the phrase you ask? “You look tired.” I admit I hear it all the time, and it used to offend me. But now I just respond with one simple answer, “I am tired.” Read more of his blog here.
This guest post is from Michael McCreary, an 18-year-old stand up comedian on the autism spectrum. Michael writes, "When I received my official diagnosis at age five, there were no personal earth-shattering revelations. I was far too fixated on more pressing matters such as trains, dinosaurs and green, long sleeved T-shirts. The impact was reserved more for the people who directly surrounded me: family, friends, teachers and the like who had the pleasure of hearing my endless stream of information regarding trains, dinosaurs and green, long sleeved T-shirts. Read more of his blog here.
This guest post was written by Autism Speaks Staffer Kerry Magro, a national speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum. This blog originally appeared on www.kerrymagro.com! In this blog Kerry writes, "At the end of the day more than anything what we hope Light It Up Blue will give us is the opportunity to educate the world on autism and help better our community." In addition to this blog Kerry also wrote several other popular In Our Own Words blogs in 2015 in "12 things you should never say to someone with autism" and "A letter I would have written for my parents when I was nonverbal." Read more of his blog here.
This guest post was written by Joshua Dushack, a 22-year-old on the autism spectrum who attends Seton Hill University. Joshua writes, "My parents were told by professionals that I would never learn how to read, write, go to school without assistance, or even talk. Life has always been a challenge for me, and still is; but I'm not giving up..." Read more of his blog here.