Growing up, I wasn’t the only person in my family with a disability. I have an uncle who has Asperger syndrome, and over the years he has taught many lessons about how to overcome challenges in my way.
1. Nothing is impossible. My uncle has always been determined. He has many talents, such as being able to build wooden tables from scratch and creating his own computer games.
2. Autism is a fun adventure. Over the years my uncle and I have done many fun things together such as going to theme parks, building Legos together, and last but not least, going on vacations. Every now and then a fire alarm will be pulled at the hotel we’re staying at, but that’s OK; that’s what makes autism a fun adventure.
3. Autism doesn’t necessarily define who the person is or their abilities. My uncle has not allowed his autism to define who he is or stop him from achieving his goals. He has always been a straight-A student in mainstream classes, he spoke at his high school graduation this past year and is now in college studying music engineering.
4. Having autism doesn’t automatically make a person socially awkward. When people find out I have an uncle with Asperger’s, they automatically assume my uncle is socially awkward. But the truth is, my uncle is a social butterfly and loves making new friends like most other 18-year-olds do.
5. People with autism don’t mean to have a meltdown. My uncle has struggled with having meltdowns from time to time, but he does not mean to have them. It can be overwhelming for him to explain and cope with his emotions; it doesn’t make him a bad person.
6. People with autism often have the biggest hearts. My uncle has always been the type of person that has a big heart and would do anything to make someone’s day brighter, even if it’s just doing little things for them.
7. Autism doesn’t stop you from finding love. My uncle has many girlfriends. Some I liked some, I didn’t, but it taught me that having autism often doesn’t stop people from finding love.
8. Autism doesn’t stop you from living life. My uncle has taught me that having autism isn’t a reason to give up on your life. He’s taught me that you can still live your life to best of your abilities with a disability.
9. People with autism want their voices heard too. My uncle has always been a person who speaks his opinions in situations. My uncle taught me that people with autism have a voice and they want to be heard. Even if it takes them a while to communicate their emotions, they have important things to say.
My uncle has taught me many life lessons about autism that I will forever be grateful for learning. I’m so honored to be his niece.