Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
by Antonio Prokup
On Autism... to my Classmates
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By Antonio Prokup
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Dec. 13, 2012 11:26 a.m.

I am not going to bore you with statistics and symptoms or even reasons concerning autism. What I want to talk about is more on a personal level. Autism does not only affect the life of the person with autism but the people involved with that person, such as you, my classmates.
Many things make the person with autism a complicated human being. What you see are the behaviors that seem strange, defiant and even physical. What you donít see is the why. Have you ever been in a small cramped place with ants and bugs crawling all over you and your mouth is taped shut? I hope not. But, that is how I feel most of the time. I hear sounds magnified 100 percent, and I canít drown them out. I see everything and am unable to focus on one thing at a time. I canít stand many textures on my body, and in my mouth, and they want me to behave and learn. YEAH RIGHT!
Just like this past week. It has been very hard for me. I am expected to sit very still and make no noise so you can have a quiet atmosphere to test in. However, I find it impossible to stay completely quiet. So I feel bad, then my mom feels bad, and then it snowballs from there until I am forced to leave. Apologizing for my behavior probably seems to you the right thing for me to do. And I am sorry. But, would a paraplegic apologize for having to be in a wheelchair and getting to park in a handicapped parking space? If apologizing for this behavior would make it go away, then I would apologize happily. However, it will not help.
I know it sounds like nothing can help me, but that is not true. The new sensory diet I am on will be the answer. It will help me to stop feeling trapped within my own body. There are many times I could scream out of frustration, but then I think about how others have it much worse than I do, and I relax and breathe. Breathing is exactly the point. I am alive and breathing, and I am so grateful for that.
How can a disability run a personís life? In fact it should not. You should learn from and accept it lovingly because it is who you are. I would be someone else if I didn't have autism, and I love who I am. Does that mean I donít want to get better or even talk someday? Heavens no! I look forward to the day I can say hello to each of you and call you by name. But until that time, be patient with me. I am trying harder than you will ever know.

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