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  • Wed 22 Mar 2023
  • Wed, March 22, 2023

Living And Succeeding With Autism, A Firsthand Account

ann_hoa_studentThis is a guest post on the Autism Speaks blog by Ann Kagarise.

According to the site, Ann is a writer, self-advocate, photographer and assistant director at a school for children with autism.

These Are the Things I Was Told I Would Never Do

I believe I was born perseverating. Giving up was not an option. I know that perseverating has a negative tone, but there is a different side. I have autism. Getting stuck is something I do. My determination to be, to create, to communicate, to overcome all obstacles is a day to day perseveration.

I was told I would not hit a ball.

My eyes do not converge and I have no depth perception. I went in the backyard and practiced until I was hitting home runs. Meeting the ball with that bat, was difficult, but not impossible.

I was told I would not have the best motor skills.

Not only did I ride a bike, but I got a unicycle and practiced until I rode a six-footer in a parade.

I was told I wouldn’t drive with the neurodevelopmental issues and my vision.kagarise

I practiced and practiced until I even drove a large postal truck…on the right side of the vehicle.

Opposite of what I was used to.

I was told I probably wouldn’t graduate high school.

My comprehension and retention was just not there. So, I picked up a tape recorder and read into it. I didn’t understand it, but I read out loud and taped it. I listened to what I had just read, one sentence at a time. I rewrote what I heard in simplified sentences. I did this until I graduated from college. I did it until I received my masters. Not learning, was not an option.

Call it perseveration. Call it determination.

I can paint a room until I am done. I will do the work, my employer asks me to do, until it is perfect.

Yes, I do get stuck on my anxieties and fears. I can get stuck on not accepting a change in my day or simply serving myself food in front of a room full of people…but the bigger picture, at the end of the day, I can say…I am stuck on making it, not giving up and being the best I can be each and every single day as I live AND succeed with autism.