I have autism, but that doesn't mean I'm not smart

This doesn’t apply to just myself, but to all those who learn differently; different does NOT mean inferior

By David Petrovic


David P

David Petrovic, BA, is a junior high teacher, author, and national speaker, including his presentation of a TEDx Talk. He has co-authored “Expect a Miracle: A Mother/Son Asperger Journey of Determination.” Its 2nd edition, retitled “Expect a Miracle: Understanding and Living with Autism” has superseded the first, and its release is planned for summer, 2020. This latter edition contains two additional chapters on young adult topics, including employment.

Often times, people have a stereotype in their minds of what autism is and how people with it function. But as the saying goes, “You meet one person on the spectrum, you meet one person on the spectrum!” No two autistic people are the same. Yet, from outward appearances, or because of my “label,” I feel like people often assume that my intelligence is low-grade.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in social studies and English/language arts, and I graduated cum laude. I am currently working towards my master’s in pastoral theology and should finish that degree by the end of summer. I am also a man of faith and I find myself thinking about a potential path as a clergyman.

I have gone through all this schooling, so the evidence of my intelligence should be apparent! At the same time, the greatest lesson I’ve learned hasn’t come from a textbook, the classroom, or the Internet. That lesson is the solidification that I am capable! I was fortunate to receive various accommodations throughout my schooling. The key to unlocking my mind in order to comprehend the information was rooted in the communication. It’s not that I am unable to “get it”—I just need the concept or task expressed in a way that I CAN understand.

This doesn’t apply to just myself, but to all those who learn differently; different does NOT mean inferior! Because we are all human, we all have purpose. It should be noted that there is a difference between ability and purpose. While some may be more mastered in different skill sets than others, everyone can make a difference in this world. No matter how small the gesture is, the impact can be life changing!


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