A parent recently reached out to me on my Facebook Page A Special Community and asked me a question that I haven’t been asked in a very long time. She asked, “Where were you considered on the autism spectrum when you were diagnosed?”
Doctors told my parents that I was on the severe end of the autism spectrum. In fact several doctors told my parents that same thing. I was nonverbal until 2-and-a-half, wouldn’t say my first word till I was 3 and growing up I had a great deal of social, emotional and sensory challenges. When people see me today as an adult who is a professional speaker, author and autism entertainment consultant, they say my autism seems mild.
My work as a professional speaker has given me the opportunity to discuss my journey while providing resources and tips to benefit our communities. It was a long journey to get to this point. In the video below I discuss that journey from nonverbal to professional speaker. The five therapies that helped me the most were physical, occupational, speech, music and theater therapy. Positive reinforcement and reward systems were also critical to my development. People often ask me if I had ABA, but I was diagnosed with autism at 4 in 1992, and it was never suggested to my family.
Keep striving all! Autism is a spectrum, so each individual is different in their own way, and we need to prioritize therapy and services unique to each person’s strengths and challenges.