What My Local Library Means to Me as a Person on the Autism Spectrum


It had only been two years since I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and I had just graduated high school. I tried college, but it didn’t really work out for me right away. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know what I could do with my life. So I started volunteering at my local library.

I had been a member of this library since I was about 2 years old when my mom first brought me for story time. So everyone at the library knew me pretty well, even though I didn’t really know them. I had never taken the time to get to know them. But when I started volunteering, things changed for me.

A whole world opened up for me. I had to learn how to take public transportation in order to get myself there. Then, when I finally got a car, I learned how to drive myself there. I was great at finding the books to pull from the shelves that people would place holds on. And then it went a bit further.

The people who worked there became my friends.

I learned how to be humble on my good days that I found all of the books that were requested and how to be OK with myself on the days that I couldn’t get them all. I also found books that I was interested in. Eventually, I even made them a picture communication book for nonverbal patrons! Above all, I learned I could do something with my life.

I could help others.

And although I now have a job and don’t have time to volunteer nearly as often as I used to, I still try to find the time to go in and visit my friends. And they are still more than happy to help. This is why I want to thank them.

Thank you to my friends at the West Chester Public Library. Thank you for providing me with a safe place to learn new skills. Thank you for understanding my challenges and encouraging me to overcome them. Thank you for supporting my goals and for helping me to achieve them.

Most importantly, thank you for going above and beyond your librarian duties.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

man in suit

My Great American Autism Success Story

My name is Louis Scarantino. I was born in the ’90s and diagnosed with autism at 2 and a half years old. I couldn’t speak until I was 5 and had an abnormal childhood. When I started school, my mom, along with a counseling center I went to for support, did many things to help me get to [...]
American-themed diner at The Vault

'The Vault' Is a New Hotel Designed to Accommodate and Hire People With Autism

Vacations are great, but traveling can be especially stressful for people with sensory sensitivities who require certain accommodations to truly enjoy their holiday. Enter The Vault, a new hotel in Gateshead, U.K., that understands the needs of the autism community and is prepared to make accommodations in a facility for and staffed by people with autism spectrum disorder. [...]

What a Letter My Mom Wrote About Raising Me as a Child With Autism Means to Me

When I turned 24, it really didn’t mean much to me besides knowing that in a year I could rent a car for the very first time. Two weeks later, I received an email from a parent in regards to helping her grandson who has Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Maybe more than any of [...]

I'm Proud to Be Autistic

​I’m Hayley. I’m 22 and autistic. One thing that annoys me is when people assume if they know one person with autism, they know a lot about autism. If you know someone with autism, that’s great. But no two people with autism are the same; we all have different abilities, skills and personality traits. I’ve [...]