Can you imagine not being able to speak for 24 years and then you are asked to present at a conference? Being the keynote speaker last Saturday gave me such a thrill!
Yes, I was nervous, but my family talked me through it.
Yes, autism and I thought my body was going to betray me, but it didn’t.
Yes, I thought people weren’t going to believe in me, but they did.
It is quite an honor to be given a stage that will be broadcast to so many and could possibly affect the future of other nonspeaking autistics. I don’t take this job lightly!
Talking about a job…..my mom now has another one….being my communication partner for all of these events! This is not easy because she has two other kids in addition to me. Yes, autism and I think she is the best mom in the world! To me we are an amazing team that can do anything together when we put our mind to it!
Talking about my mom, I have to say something. Without her help, none of this would be happening! She and I want to help other people with autism. Talk to other autistics that you know and tell them my story.
Autism and I are ready for whatever life has in store for us, however, it is a bit overwhelming thinking about it. I think life will be good for me. I am surrounded by people who love me, have a nice home and good friends, but will it always be like this?
This life was created for me by my parents. Who will do it for me when they are gone? I think my siblings will help me, but I don’t want to burden them. I think they will have families and other priorities
I think autism and I will live a good life, but how can I be sure? I want to make the most of my life while I can, live life to the fullest, and burn the candle at both ends. Somedays my body won’t cooperate, but I am going to keep trying.
Sometimes, life throws some shit at you, but you can always start again the next day.
Hopefully, autism and I will have people around me to support me, like I do now.
Push yourself while you have the chance because life doesn’t make any promises.
Autism and I are one of the keynote speakers at a conference this upcoming Saturday. This is totally unbelievable to me! Just 4 years ago I was unable to express any level of thought, and now I am a keynote speaker! Life can surprise you sometimes! Talk about an unbelievable honor!
Having a voice now is better than I thought it could be. Telling people what I am thinking releases so much anxiety. Sometimes when my family can tell I am upset about something they will put the board in front of me and ask how they can help me. I think being given a level of control and the voice to say how to help me is paramount to success. Getting the tools to help myself has made me more confident in my own abilities. Yes, autism and apraxia are still there, but now I am able to help myself.
This conference means more to me than anything I have done so far. I hope autism and I are up to the challenge! Being apraxic you never know what kind of shape your body will be in. Some days my body listens to me, and some days it doesn’t.
Back from vacation and I miss it already! We went to Avalon with good friends. Being with a bunch of people sometimes can be stressful for me but being understood helped me. Friends like ours are hard to find. They always include me and talk to me directly. I really appreciate that and had a great time because of them.
Going away with my family is fun for me. They always keep me busy doing fun things. This time my dad took me on a wave runner. I was a bit scared but had a great time. Being with my dad makes me feel like I can do anything. That is….except talk! I would love to be able to talk sports or politics with him like my brother does, but I was happy to ride with him and create more memories with him.
Vacation is the best when you spend it with people who love you!
Autism and I talk nonstop, from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. I recite lines from videos and TV shows, but I can’t hold a conversation. Being that way is tiring for me as well as for those around me. People tell me to stop talking sometimes, but I can’t make myself stop. Being talkative will drive some people crazy. Understanding that we can’t control it is important to know.
Yesterday while we are at the beach house my dad was getting annoyed because my mom and her friend were talking while he was watching a movie. I feel like this all the time! To me, being told to keep quiet makes me feel like a toddler getting into trouble. You are trying to stop yourself but your mouth won’t listen. It is a part of my mind-body disconnect. Talking nonstop is tiring for me and is an autistic trait I see quite often. I also see people with autism in constant motion. They can’t control that either.
You need to be patient and understanding with us with these kind of things. Talking and moving nonstop is not my idea of fun!
You may be annoyed about it, but not as much as we are!
Bike riding in Avalon is an experience I love more than anything. I feel free and alive and like all of the rest. Autism and I are so proud that I mastered bike riding! Apraxia tried to win but I overcame! I feel like an independent person when I bike ride. I decide where to turn and how fast to go. Sometimes my mom has to shout orders to me like “stay to the right” but for the most part I do it myself.
Avalon has beautiful houses and flowers, and I love looking at everything as I soar past. To me, Avalon is a reminder of a wonderful time in my childhood. Avalon and autism are together in my memories. Bike riding helps me remember those times…..the arcade we always went to, the playgrounds and shops we explored, the beach views from the rocky jetty we would ride to, the many different houses we rented.
Being on my bike I ride through these memories as I soar past these sights. Take a bike ride through your own memories. It will make you soar.
Autism and I wish so much I could be like everyone else. I would love to be able to have friends come over without their parents coming along. Autism has made my life unlike the rest of my peers. All of the rites of passage of typical young adults are not possible for me. I will never drive a car, have a wife, have children, or even be able to live on my own. Sometimes I do feel that life sucks and God is cruel.
But autism and I are trying not to dwell on that. It does no good to think of all the things I can’t do. I prefer to be thankful of what I DO have…. like a loving family, a nice house, and a mind that is as sharp as a tack.
Being typical does not guarantee a perfect life. There are drug addicts out there, as well as people who can’t get along with others. For me, God gave me a challenge, but it is not the worst kind of challenge. I am not dying of cancer or in pain. I am living my life the best way I can and being a person that tries to make the world a better place for others. Talking about a better world….autism and I are trying to be an advocate for other nonspeakers to make a better world for them. I am always happy to help others and the result is that it makes MY life better!
For much of my childhood I was jokingly called “Sir Gregorious” because my family always did what was best for me above all else. Autism and I are still king, and my family still treats me the same way. Being first doesn’t seem fair to my siblings but they never complain and they treat me like a king too! Can autism and I be any luckier? I don’t think so.
To me my family is the best in the world. Having an autistic sibling must be so annoying, I am sure. I think I must drive people crazy with my constant looping about things. Talking about going to the grocery store is my new loop. I keep talking about what I want to buy, like red apples or rice cakes, both of which we have more than enough. I know it is ridiculous but I can’t stop myself. It annoys me too! I think that autism and I are so lucky that my family hasn’t tossed me to the curb!
Talking about my family, did I ever tell you that Sir Gregorious and his subjects have the best kingdom there is? Come visit some time. They will treat you like a king!
My Aunt Lori is one of my biggest advocates. She helped me publish my book on Amazon and helped me do my video on YouTube about my journey to finding a communication method. Autism and I are lucky to have her on our side. People like her are hard to find, and I am so thankful she believes in me.
Aunt Lori and my mom are quite a pair! When they get together all they do is laugh like a couple of hyenas. Both Aunt Lori and my mom act like they are back in elementary school and I love that! Aunt Lori’s laugh and fun are infectious. I am proud to be her nephew, and I want her to know that her support means everything to me.
For all of my childhood she lived in Florida and I have wonderful memories of her trips to visit us and us going to the pool and Dutch Wonderland. You knew laughter and silliness would happen! Take me back to a time when being together and having fun were the goals of the day! During those times I couldn’t tell her what she meant to me, but I can now! She is everything to me and with her help and creativity, autism and I are going to change the way autism is viewed.