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To the Woman Who Helped Me During an 'Ellen' Taping Event

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I have been an advocate since I was officially diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum when I was 15. There have been many different reactions from people when I tell them. My closer friends and family have been extremely supportive and accommodating. A lot of strangers, however, simply responded with, “Oh, you seem to be doing pretty well,” and then move on.

When I first heard my favorite show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” would be taping the show locally, I was beyond thrilled. Yet, I knew it would be a challenge for me. Personally, I struggle with some social skills as someone on the autism spectrum. It takes me longer to process what people say. I also have an incredibly difficult time in crowds, and I get physically and mentally worn out dealing with them for very long. I decided to try to attend the taping anyways, because I knew I would regret missing out on a possible dream come true.

I was running on mostly adrenaline by the time I arrived in the morning. They wouldn’t start filming until early evening. It was cold, and I was already starting to struggle. Then you joined the group of fans I was hanging out with. After you complimented my autism awareness hat, I mentioned that I’m on the spectrum. You completely understood my situation.

You stayed by my side for the entire day. When I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, you kept my spirits up with a positive attitude. “We’ve got this!” You reminded me. When we were challenged to find costumes, and I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group, you slowed down to my pace, all while encouraging me to go on. You paired up with me to dress as a famous duo, and helped us get our Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears. When we were standing in the jam-packed crowd, you helped me to keep standing by literally giving me a shoulder to lean on. I began to flap my hands a bit, stimming to self-regulate, and once you knew I was OK, you helped by explaining it to the others in the crowd.

I am a huge fan of Ellen. And because of you, I was able to meet with her staff member, too. I was able to get help holding up my sign. I got as close to a dream come true as I could possibly get. Without you, that wouldn’t have happened.

Thank you, Carrie Navok, for taking me under your wing, and helping me to have one of the best days of my life.

Two women dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse holding a sign for Ellen Degeneres Show that says [your awesomeness doesn't fit this poster] with photos of Ellen on it
Erin and Carrie

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Originally published: March 28, 2017
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