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In honor of Autism Awareness Month I wanted to share with you some things we hope, as people with autism, that you take from April…

10. Not all of us are math geniuses i.e. Rain Man.

9. Not all people with autism are the same. If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.

8. Being unable to speak doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. 1/3 of people with autism today are non-verbal yet they can be highly intelligent (i.e best-selling author Carly Fleischmann)

7. As much as you spread awareness for autism we also want you to also spread autism education. We want to be accepted for who we are and not seen as a label.

6. Normal is really only a dryer setting. Most of us are highly unique and that originality is a beautiful thing in our community that should be acknowledged.

5. People with autism are smart and talented. It may not be noticeable all the time but all of our minds work in different and beautiful ways.

4. For those on the high functioning end of the spectrum, please don’t say things like “I could never imagine you having autism.” Autism is a spectrum disorder.

3. Kids with autism will become adults with autism. As much as we’d love to emphasis children on the news we want you to know that autism is a lifelong disorder and we don’t want to be forgotten when we become adults. We don’t grow out of autism.

2. If you see me in a public setting and see me rubbing my hands together, or leaning back and forth, please don’t look at me like something is wrong. I ask for empathy in these situations as I feel more comfortable by doing these things.

1. Autism can’t define us. We define autism. This is the truth for everyone on this planet actually. No one thing should be able to define us as people. We define ourselves. I’ve never wanted to be defined by a label. I want people more than anything to see me as Kerry.

So for April, just realize that people with autism are here for a purpose. We all are meant to shine in this world. I hope we are given the opportunities to progress and live the best lives possible.

Just like anyone else…