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If I had to make a list, this is what I would wish for the autism community based on my experiences as an adult on the autism spectrum.

1. I wish acceptance was easier to come by.

2. I wish loving one another was always on our minds.

3. I wish early diagnosis remains a high priority.

4. I wish people would stop calling autism a disease.

5. I wish that communication becomes easier for everyone with autism. Know that we’re trying.

6. I wish that we find more treatments to enhance the lives of people with autism.

7. I wish that insurance for autism will get passed in all 50 states.

8. I wish the government would understand the need for services for people with autism in schools.

9. I wish individuals with autism can one day live their lives independently.

10. I wish I was capable of helping more.

11. I wish people would stop using the words “socially awkward” and “retard” in a negative way.

12. I wish for more awareness for all with disabilities. Those of us living with a disability are doing our very best.

13. I wish for those who are on the spectrum and for those who love someone on the spectrum that you know we’re moving forward every single day.

14. I wish all of our voices could be heard.

15. I wish everyone will follow the words of one of my favorite performers of all time, Michael Jackson, who sang in his song “Man in the Mirror”: If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.

16. I wish you all knew me when I was 4, when I was diagnosed with autism. For a long time I was lost — scared of myself and what I was capable of. I never thought I would be where I am today… but I did it. I graduated from Seton Hall University this past May and will be going to graduate school for Strategic Communications in the fall to boot. So for my final wish:

17. I wish for you all to always live life with hope. I wish that your days are filled with hope for a better tomorrow. And for today, no matter how dark life gets sometimes, that you realize you’re never alone. I wish this for you…

I encourage everyone in the autism community to remember that we must come together as a true community to put our best foot forward. I know we all have a lot of wishes out there so let’s avoid distractions and focus on progress so we can all make a difference for our loved ones.

You can find this post on the SF Gate here andAutism Speaks official blog here.