Home > In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – Awe, Autism

In Their Own Words – Awe, Autism

We recently received this e-mail from a parent:
My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of two and a half. He’s had years of Skills Trainers and Autism Consultants who have helped him navigate his world. He’s fully mainstreamed in a public school here in Hawaii (he’s in the seventh grade) and is doing exceptionally well (scoring A’s in his Advanced Placement math, etc.) Although his autism diagnosis is his “Big Secret” which he shares with a very select group of people, his English teacher encouraged him to write about his struggles for his English paper (she promised she wouldn’t share it with the class). I wanted to share this story with the autism community because it can perhaps give others some perspective and inspiration with respect to their struggles.

Have you ever had a challenge that you had to overcome, but you did not want anybody to know about it?  Hi, I am (name redacted), and I have been dealing with this challenge for as long as I ever lived. I was born with a disability called autism. Yes, I seem like I am functioning regularly in society, but appearances can actually be deceiving. I will explain later what autism is, how I dealt with this and what I have learned from this experience. Come and explore my deep secret of my life.

First, I will tell you the many things I experienced while I had autism. I sometimes had a hard time in school. I was disorganized and I also sometimes couldn’t focus when I was young. I had a hard childhood and this struggle for my “survival” was hard to overcome.  I sometimes ask my mom, “Why me? Why did God choose me to lack what other people have?”  I felt like I was an alien in school and was I thought I was very different from other people. I felt so discouraged that I ran away from home and ran as fast as I could. I brought clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, money to survive and I also wrote a note to tell my mom that I was leaving. I finally came home within four hours of running away from home.

In addition, I will tell you how I solved this dilemma. I try to think positive and try hard in making friends, which was hard for me to do. I was actually good at the academics, but I was (and am still) struggling with planning and applying my strategies to the real world. There were many people out there to help me and I do give them credit to all of their accomplishments. I tried to follow their advice and sometimes failed, but yes they did help me out. I also stay on a special diet so that I can concentrate more. I find it does help.

Next, I shall tell you what I learned from this experience. I learned that I am not an alien and am normal. In fact, I think that this is actually a good experience. I am more grateful to what I can do. I had things that I could not do that other people could do, but now I can do those things, which I do not take in vain. I also finally learned that I have the strength inside of me to overcome challenges. Now, when I do face challenges like this, I can know inside that “I AM AN OVERCOMER!”

Overall, I have reflected on this challenge and I feel good that I could face this challenge and almost beat it. However, I am still facing with this challenge of autism. So far, I am doing well and I think that I have gone farther than I have ever thought I could go. This is a message to all of you: whatever challenge you are facing, find the real problem and solve the real problem. Believe in yourself and have inner strength to fight the problem if it’s physically or mentally.

This “In Their Own Words” essay is written by a seventh grade student in Hawaii and was submitted by his mother.

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@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. Sandra
    June 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    this letter has brought me to tears..All i can think about is all the troubles he talks about over coming…my 11yr son was also diagnosed with the same this and what interested me the most was you said you had a special diet. I am having a hard time with my son and need as much info as possible….your ideas would help me tremendously.

  2. Steve
    June 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    your letter brought me great joy, my grandsson has pdd-nos, and is 2 and a half.
    You have given me great hope for my grandson. Thank you and here’s hoping your struggles are few and your bumps in the road are small

  3. Hope
    June 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Amazing letter! Loved it! My son was dx with the same thing last summer. He is 9 now and going into 4th grade. He has been in school since he was 3. We havve struggled daily with him. I have health issues myself that seem to rip the life out of me. I refuse to quit. Thanks for writing this. I am always reading and trying to learn more. I also am a special ed parapro for a self contained class.

  4. Liane Bouffard
    June 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter! My 6 year old adopted daughter from Korea was just diagnosed with PDDNOS. My husband and I are overwhelmed with the diagnosis and at the beginning stages of learning more as well as finding supposrt groups in our area. Your sons honesty was very uplifting and I can only pray my little finds the same success. In my heart I believe she will because she is such a hard worker. If you can pass on any information I would be forever grateful.

  5. Isolde Luyt
    June 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Still desprately looking for sollutions and options to help my son whose turning 5 soon.

  6. June 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I am a mom of 5 girls and my 3yr old was diagnosed with PDD low spectrum autism at the age of 2yrs. Reading this has truly given me strength to believe that my little girl will overcome this. I also have heard about the special diet avoiding wheat and dairy products. My Aubrey is so picky when it comes to food and their are very few things that she will eat and I am at my wits end on what to give her. We feed her all the wrong things just so that she will eat, we are at a loss with this and dont know what to do.

  7. Carol
    June 23, 2010 at 9:04 am

    this letter gives me a lot of hope for my rising 7th grader. I would love to get more information on Autism Consultants. I will search the internet for more information where I live. Thanks for posting this article. It is so encouraging.

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