Saturday, February 18, 2012
Over the course of my life, I have overcome many barriers to achieve all the things that I have accomplished and reach the point I am at today. In this blog post, I am going to discuss many of the barriers that I have vanquished. We all hear that those on the spectrum have to overcome many challenges to live a successful, independent life. However, I feel there is great uncertainty involved with this. For many parents and individuals on the spectrum, looking to the future is like trying to peer through a vast fog, beyond which nothing is known for sure. It is my hope by listing my challenges that I have overcome, I will pave the path for many parents who are looking for a glimmer of inspiration.
My first barrier I faced was a speech barrier. When I was two years old, I lost what speech skills I had then obtained. Gradually, my mom worked with me by talking to me and playing music. Eventually, I was able to regain my verbal language skills. My second barrier is what I will call my "shyness barrier." Even after I regained my speech skills, I never really talked to anyone besides my parents. Over time, I came out of my shell and made friends, some of which I know today, almost twenty years later.
The next barrier I overcame was the academic barrier. Prior to eighth grade, I had nearly been held back a grade on more than one occasion. It was a true achievement, not to mention surprise, to make the A/B honor role, with mostly special ed classes. Through high school, I had to break through the wake of my depression I had experienced in middle school and gain more self confidence. Continuing the honor role after moving out of special ed in science and history helped me to recognize that maybe I was as smart as people told me I was. Throughout high school, I also made many friends and expanded my social boundaries. Admittedly, many of these friends had no idea what I had experienced just a few years previously.
When I graduated from high school into college, I was doubtful my academic success would continue, since there is no special ed in college. My first semester proved me how wrong I was. I started college with a 3.84 GPA. The lowest grade I received during the first academic year was an A-. Now I have nearly completed college and have still received all A's, B's, and a handful of C's since I first started college.
When I started this blog, I broke a barrier as well. Prior to that time, I considered knowledge about my autism to be private information. Only family and a handful of friends knew that I was on the spectrum. Sharing information and insight of my condition to faceless people I would never meet, was frightening initially. Over time, I became more comfortable. Right now, I know that I am making a difference because you have taken the time to read my words. I hope that by sharing the challenges I have overcome, I might instill hope in others who really need it.