Home > Autism Speaks U > What Does Autism Mean To You? – By Daniel Grieves

What Does Autism Mean To You? – By Daniel Grieves

Autism Speaks U, an initiative of Autism Speaks that works with college students across the country,  recently interviewed students about autism and the results were incredible. It showed that their involvement with Autism Speaks U is critical in spreading awareness on campus and in the community! Watch the video on What is Autism.

From this video, emerged our “What Does Autism Mean To You” series where college students share their perspective on autism. This post is by Daniel Grieves, a Senior at Towson University majoring in Strategic Public Relations under the feed of Mass Communication. Daniel has autism and is involved with the Center for Adults with Autism on campus and serves as a spokesperson for their organization.

I believe that autism is only a barrier. Students on the autism spectrum should not consider this barrier as a wall they cannot break down. They should consider it as something more easily penetrated.

What I mean is that a person with autism can overcome their shortcomings, no matter how large they may be. They are able to use their interests or goals to work beyond their problems and can do very well in certain types of subjects. An autistic student might do better with writing papers, working with computers, or solving math problems than many of his or her peers.

Daniel and fellow Towson students at the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event - photo courtesy of Karyn Bedell

People with autism still need support from people who care about them as well as services that are beneficial for them to achieve these goals. However, this is not easy to do especially with how most mass media forms treat the concept of autism and the fact that many people do not have a good understanding of what autism really is. By increasing awareness of what people on the spectrum are really like and what they are capable of, we can truly join together to take down that “barrier” that emotionally divides us people who have autism from people who don’t.

My advice for autistic students of all ages: Do not let your autism get the best of you. You can live your dreams as long as people are willing to help you get through and you try hard on all of your studies. If you think you will fail because of your autism, chances are you will fail. However, if you believe in succeeding and rising above your autism, you will have a better life.

Just remember my personal slogan: autism is only a disability if you make it a disability.

Happy Holidays!

If you are college student and would like your “What Does Autism Mean To You” story featured on the Autism Speaks blog, please send it to AutismSpeaksU@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. December 20, 2010 at 10:01 am

    TY, Mr. Grieves, 4 Ur insite & well-written article! Special THANKS 4 realizing U CAN help others!!

  2. December 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    We see children overcome their shortcomings and break through their “walls” everyday! Great article, thank you for sharing.

  3. ileana morales
    January 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Daniel thanks for your words…you are an inspiration!!!I wish you could talk to my son David, he is almost 18, he is high functioning…he is frustrated, because he wants a girlfriend (but he wants a “regular”, not a high functioning),girls at his school are very nice to him like a friend buy not like a boyfriend..I take David and his classmates every friday to “hang out”, they have a blast, his friends are happy within their group, but David is always looking for the “regular teens”….He is not happy…He goes: :mom. please help me///I want a regular girlfriend///any advice????

  4. Gabby
    January 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Daniel, great job! It was such a joy getting to know you at the Wellness Center and I miss you and the other guys and girls dearly. Great job again! Gabby

  5. Jo Walter
    February 15, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Well said. My daughter could read before she could talk. Shortcomings can be a blessing in disguise most times. It may take us 30 minutes to walk the one block to school, but I know what every flower on that block smells like. How many parents can say that?

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