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Austin’s Story – Autism Awareness

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Austin Thompson: IA/SPED Teacher

Being autistic, while defined in many ways, can broadly be the experience of poor social skills in public or social circumstances, encountering constant anxiety about the smallest or largest aspects of the day, or having specific knowledge concerning a particular subject.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s around the age of five or six, which was a confirmation of my abnormal tendencies. Throughout my life, I had experiences with anxiety, be it speaking to adults when I was younger about nearly anything, or about going to school during my elementary and middle school years. I went through separation anxiety when I would not see my mom during school hours, and I was eventually enrolled at a private school for kids with autism. I spent five years there, from third through eighth grade and grew a lot. I learned how to control my anxiety, focus in school with teachers I liked, and learned to understand the unique qualities of other students in the autistic community. Many students with autism stem (make movements with their hands or other body parts frequently), take jokes literally, making it difficult to understand humor, or require a constant structure and predictability to their day.

I have felt different throughout my life, especially when I did not understand something someone explained to me. I would tend to get angry and blame it on my autism. It is hard for many with autism who may be either visual, verbal, or model-based learners. I have always relied on visual learning as an aide, and with my visual learning came a need to see things when people explain specific instructions about how to do something. In my old retail job, if I did not understand where something was supposed to go, I would struggle to create a mental map of the store with my mind, as I still do, especially here at Rouse High School.

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Austin’s Story – Autism Awareness