January 2011



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By Stefanie Sanchez / Third Place: Feature writing, Division: MIddle School

Whenever autism is discussed in the media, it is mainly about children. People rarely hear families talk about adults with autism. I am a seventh-grader who has an autistic uncle who lives with me and my family.

My uncle has lived with us for three years now and it has changed my perspective on autistic people. I know quite a few people who have autism. My uncle has high functioning autism. Though society often tends to focus on the challenges people with autism have, the good features and independence my uncle has are amazing. He always has a huge smile. He knows how to take care of himself in a proper way and even knows how to cook small meals if we are not home with him. He is a collector, so he has a lot of money, hats and blankets. He is capable of having a conversation, but it is limited.

However, if you have a conversation with him about something he likes, he will be looking forward to seeing you again so that he can talk to you about that topic. He loves people, likes to have fun, and really has to have very little to enjoy life, unlike some people these days.

I think people forget those autistic children grow up to be autistic adults like my uncle. My uncle does have challenges that autistic people do. For instance, he is not capable of driving himself and talks to himself out loud to process things in his brain. He lives with a routine schedule and if it changes, he will start getting nervous and start asking a lot of repetitive questions which can be very annoying. But I think his challenges are fewer than many others with autism, which is a good thing. He is very capable of doing many things with little supervision which makes him a fun-loving and a outgoing kind of person, in his own way. It is different living with him but we all love him and we are glad he is in our family. It is an adjustment for us as well as an adjustment for him.

The author is a seventh-grader at Notre Dame School.

Source:  http://www.thereporter.com/rss/ci_15753581?source=rss

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