In the past few years, clinicians have seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 110 American children has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Sometimes I hear people talking about disabilities as something negative. I have Autism so sometimes I have trouble understanding things I read or what people are saying, and it is also hard for me to understand their emotions. For me my disability means that I might need help doing things, like the laundry, or cooking, or understanding school work. But mostly I like to focus on all of the things that I CAN do and HAVE done.
I WENT go to college at CCBC and took classes in the Single Step program such as Language Arts, Math, Personal Employment and Independent Living. I found my way around the campus and bought my lunch or snacks at the cafeteria. I took the van to school, but even took MTA Mobility by myself. Even though it did not pick me up at my house I would take it from the Owings Mills JCC. I liked my teachers and my friends at CCBC. I got homework but I was able to complete my assignments.
I HAVE worked since high school. First at Mr. Charles Market where I washed the dishes and pans, helped with the laundry, cut vegetables, took out the garbage, stocked the shelves and other things that my bosses, Chef Aharon and Chef Stu, asked me to do. They explained the directions so that I could understand and were patient with me. I NOW work at Famous Dave’s BBQ as a Host! I really enjoy my new job. I CAN and DO take Call-A-Ride back and forth to work on my own.
I CAN go to the movies by myself or with my friends. I don’t drive but my parents and sister give me rides. I like to do activities with my new friends from the GILD group. We have fun going out to dinner, and spending time at people’s houses.
I CAN work out with my trainer Denny at the Owings Mills JCC. I have been working out with Denny for several years every Sunday morning. He has taught me how to use the machines such as the treadmill and rowing machines. He has taught me how to jump rope, play basketball, throw and catch a Frisbee and lift weights.
I CAN travel with my family and by myself. I have travelled to Israel 3 times to visit my sisters and to attend their weddings. My favorite city is Tel Aviv and I like going to the beach. I have flown on an airplane by myself to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Utah. They took me camping in Yellowstone National Park which was great. I hope to go back to Utah to visit them.
I CAN use the computer, especially Facebook to send messages to my family and friends. I also like to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix and on the television and the computer. I also like to play Wii games such as Dance Dance Revolution, Mario Cart, and Movie Trivia.
There are so many things I can do that I don’t let the things I can’t do or need help to do bother or upset me.
By Daniel Hecht
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