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5 Reasons I'm Successful as a Man With Autism

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What’s the first question you ask when you find out you have autism, if you’re diagnosed at a later age and old enough to understand? For parents, what are questions you’re asking yourself when you find out your child is diagnosed with autism? It can be nerve-wracking and scary. It’s like you’re jumping off a cliff but never falling on the ground because there are more questions each day. You may ask yourself if you’re going to finish high school? Go to college? Go to work? Go on a date? Live on your own? The questions will continue to come up throughout life.

But I’ve done it all as a man with autism. I’m successful and beyond extraordinary. These are reasons why.

1.   I’m motivated.

I always wanted what other successful people want: to have a job one day, have money, etc. I was motivated to work, and it wasn’t my parents’ idea to get a job at 15. It was mine. It ended up being one of the greatest decisions of my life. I always wanted to go to college as a kid. While I was there I often felt like I wanted to quit, however I was motivated to finish no matter how often those feelings came up. I always wanted to travel the world. I’ve done that. I wanted to live on my own and now I do.

Everybody has their own dream they want to follow. I’ve followed many of them, including when I met Shania Twain. I’m motivated to start an autism advocacy career. No matter what, I don’t settle for less.

2.   Good parents.

My mom and my stepdad were very good parents and are very good people. They got me everything I needed in order to succeed and be motivated. They didn’t let the wrong type of people and providers give me services. They didn’t let my high school do the wrong things to me and made sure I graduated with my class. But they were also tough on me. They didn’t feel sorry for me all the time. They punished me when I needed to be punished. They treated me the same way they treated my siblings. They never encouraged me to quit college, even when I was hard on myself. They still are tough on me when I’m out in the real world all on my own. They pushed me, but I know you can only push so far. They made sure I was always safe, including helping me find a safe place for me to live when I moved out. Not everyone with autism can do everything I do, but I could do all these things. That’s why they pushed me. They’re my parents and not my friends. They love me very much though, and are proud of me.

3.   Good services and support system.

I can call myself so lucky and blessed! I had the most outstanding people to give me the services I needed to be where I am today. From Early Intervention to Therapeutic Support Staff (TSS), psychiatrists, behavioral specialists, and so much more, they’ve done a wonderful job. My parents are a part of this. We all worked together to get the supports suited for me. We never messed around if someone didn’t fit. We changed providers when it was necessary, but it wasn’t most of the time. I also did my part to make their services very helpful.

4. Starting to work at 15 and going to college.

These were two of the best decisions I’ve made. My first job at a Burger King taught me how to interact with peers properly. I also learned an important skill for the job that I work at now to support myself living independently. Customer service! Of course I’m not perfect at it, but I’m good. I got a lot of compliments and very few complaints. I’m human and you can’t please everyone. It also taught me how to manage money better. That’s still a struggle but it’s better than before I had a job. College got me a good education to help get me my job now. I had the best teachers supporting me, and I got great grades. It looks good on my resume too. Not everyone with autism can do these things, but if you can, I believe you will have a much better chance for a successful life. Now I’m working at a DMV and I’m very successful at it.

5. Having confidence.

Loads of people with autism struggle with this. People without autism struggle with this.  If I had confidence a long time ago, I’d be more successful than I am now. I needed confidence to land a few of the dates I got in recent years. Once I started to feel comfortable talking to women, built confidence and knew my values, I landed more dates. I knew I had a great personality, I just always feared rejection. But since I faced my fears, I know pretty much everyone I come into contact with now likes me. They accept my autism. They don’t even know I have it unless I tell them. They see me as the nice, handsome, extraordinary young man I am today.

I now have a good job, nice apartment, great friends, and great people in my life. I’m advocating for autism with many articles published. I’m also going to publish books and look to become a motivational speaker.  I actually have speaking opportunities coming up. I have my own website and business cards too! I look forward to a very successful life. I believe you can be successful too and some of these things may help you. Good luck!

Getty image by Kat Snowden.

Originally published: May 10, 2018
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