Michelle Damiata at a NASCAR race.

Why Acceptance Matters for People With Autism


Autism is not just a disability; autism is something that requires understanding and empathy. Autism is a disability that affects a child’s social skills and learning skills as well. It can also make it difficult to comprehend (understand) words, situations, facial expressions or emotions. Autism can sometimes make it difficult to focus as well. People with autism learn differently than people without autism.

I want to share my story about my life with autism. I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 6 years old. PDD-NOS stands for pervasive developmental disorder  — not otherwise specified. I also have a touch of Asperger’s syndrome. I had no eye contact, poor language skills, many meltdowns and poor social skills. I was nonverbal at that time. I was overly sensitive to noises and many other things as well. I didn’t really understand why I had tutors in classes with me.

I still have tutors in classes with me because I learn differently, and I’m fine with that. Without tutors, I would be very confused and I wouldn’t be able to understand what’s going on. I was bullied, picked on, made fun of and lied to. I was pointed at and people stared at me. It made me feel like I would never fit in like everyone else. They tried to push me down, but those who care about me helped me get back up on my feet.

I have met other people with disabilities, and they have shared their stories about their lives with me. And look at me now, I’ve worked extremely hard and I’m very independent. Whenever people try to bring me down, I automatically get back up. When a person points and stares at someone with autism, that’s called being rude and disrespectful, and it’s also judging them. I felt people were judging me because they didn’t understand. When a person with autism is being judged, it can bring bad reminders of their disabilities. For those of you who support people with autism and don’t judge them at all, keep continuing to help make Autism Awareness bigger and bigger. Keep treating them with respect to help them feel “normal.”

For those of you who have autism, you are beautiful fearless warriors. Nothing can stop you from succeeding. You are just as equal as everyone else. For those of you who don’t seem to understand autism, you can try to ask yourself, “How can I help people with autism?”  I ask you to understand people with autism and give them fairness, equality and respect. And I encourage you to stop judging people with autism; instead of judging, learn how to accept them.

Nothing will ever stop me from rising to the top. I believe we the people with autism will rise to the very top of success. At my school I once saw an assembly called “Yes, You Can.” I was touched by how well the speaker talked about his life. He never lets his disability stop him from succeeding. I am never going to give up — that is why I am writing this. I want to help and teach throughout the world. Finally, I would like you to remember, it doesn’t matter if you have autism or any other disabilities, or if you’re not disabled — fairness, equality and most of all acceptance is what matters.

Thank you for reading the words I wrote. I have finished writing my book. I am hoping I will be able to publish it very soon. Please keep a look out for it. God bless you all.

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