You Are Poised to Magnify Your Potential.

By the Autistic Blogger | Published on February 11, 2021 | 12 Minute Read

There was a period in my life where I presumed I was cursed for being Autistic.

Listening in on a conversation between my mother and doctor when the instantaneous statement “Your son will be at minimum three years behind in academics” spilled out of the doctor's mouth, attempting to play Soccer with my cousins on Thanksgiving morning, only to have them hurt me physically, proclaiming “You will never amount to anything because your Autistic” and having my Aunts and Uncles approve of their actions towards me, my mother’s friend proposing that I’m meaningless since I will end up in a community for individuals with disabilities for the rest of my life, and that I should commit suicide to circumvent that inevitable pain, it felt like I had a million reasons to believe that I was indeed, cursed.

And did I mention I endured all of these aforementioned hardships before the age of ten?

I was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two; right at the threshold in which an individual can be diagnosed, so it seemed ineluctable for me to be subjected to discrimination and misconceptions by the public majority. And I was.

In addition to being in the spectrum, growing up in a household with a Mexican traditional mindset, living in the projects where you would hear about someone being gunned down at least once a week, being a low-income individual with nothing to my name, and shortly after being diagnosed with Autism, being diagnosed with ADHD, generalized Anxiety, and severe depression disorders only exacerbated the notion that I would be inherently subjected to discrimination.

Naturally, I have perceived the premise that I am indeed different, and how embodying these distinctions behaved as a detriment, but I never cared about my supposed reality until the 2nd grade.

Prior to the 3rd grade, I was under the special education system. I was exclusively in classes with students with learning disabilities and I was under a more specialized approach to learning. In the 2nd grade - and when I was still in special education - the special education classrooms were completely untethered from the regular education classrooms.

To elaborate, the special education classrooms were still inside the main campus. My main classroom was bunched with about five other classrooms, a restroom, a smaller jungle gym, basically trying to emulate a regular school but in smaller proportions. However, these classrooms were implicitly detached by a fifteenth foot wired gate, with another wired gate roofing us. "The cage" was what I would wittily label our classrooms. We weren't allowed into regular education grounds in any circumstances; only to go in and out.

One disdainful afternoon, when we were on lunch break, I went to the edge of the gate, looking at all the regular education students playing on the jungle gym in front of me.

That's when I started to complement the philosophical.

On that day, I started to question why the neurodivergent individuals were being separated from the regular education kids. I wondered why we were being separated on the basis of our labels and not our abilities.

I pondered, if "the cage" portrayed the bigger picture of society, where individuals with distinctions were seen as inferior, and to them we were nothing but caged animals to make fun of.

I looked back at my peers, who were oblivious of their fate as individuals with disabilities.

On that day, I started to question why the neurodivergent individuals were being separated from the regular education kids. I wondered why we were being separated on the basis of our labels and not our abilities.

At this moment I began to tear up.

This profound moment about my reality was pretty surreal. Some might say uncomfortable. Jarring.

To see your future and seemingly having little to no opportunities as an Autistic individual mortified me, and gradually made me more and more aware of the disadvantages of being Autistic.

I first became aware of my mother, and how she has always disapproved of me being neurodivergent. She wouldn't try to debunk my disabilities and say that I'm neurotypical, or bully me to the point of being physically harmed, she was simply just indifferent about me; she knew that I was "suffering," and that I was despised for being different, leading up to the overall picture that she didn't like the notion of me being different but didn't care enough to remedy any of that.

The feeling of fear for my future magnified when I entered middle school.

Despite scoring advanced marks for placement exams, meaning that I could've taken honors courses, I was prohibited from taking honors courses because apparently my labels overshadowed my abilities. I would reference these acts of discrimination to my mother, but as always, she didn't care.

In my 7th grade IEP meeting, I remember my teacher asking a question to my RSP teacher, "Since he's doing well in school, should we start a transition plan to give him the appropriate career courses in the 8th grade?" The RSP teacher callously respoded "He's Autistic! What career? The most potential he has is retail, if he even has the ability to maintain a job!"

In my eighth-grade, I took a high school placement exam to see if I could qualify for honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

The stream of sweat trickled down my forehead as I gradually opened the door to my Language Arts class. With willowy legs quaking beneath me and heart palpitating at blazing increments, I was the overwrought eighth-grader rushing across the classroom towards an anticipated list of names attached to the left-side wall.

My right thumb trembled as I skimmed through the names, hoping to detect mine on the bottom of the list. At last, I released my thumb off the list in bewilderment. I passed my placement challenge exam. Consequently, I got admitted into Honors English ½ and qualified for AP courses for my ninth-grade.

"I did it? Do I actually have potential as an individual on the spectrum."

For the first time in years, I felt a sense of pride for myself; for my future.

Upon arrival to the school auditorium on registration day, I ebulliently strolled through the aisles of seats towards the counselors registering eighth-grade students for their high school courses. This was it, the commencement of my academic rigor. I took a seat, looking up in awe at the massive stack of document folders that towered over me. These people meant business.

Handing the list of courses I was interested in enrolling—with Honors English ½ frantically circled to convey my favorable course—the counselor erased my choice, instead circling an English Intervention course. The action confounded me, prompting me to ask why. The candid response "You wouldn't survive it. You're Autistic" left me petrified.

"I did it? Do I actually have potential as an individual on the spectrum?"

For the first time in years, I felt a sense of pride for myself; for my future.

This adversity not only left me fearing for my future and potential at an all-time high, but I also became exhausted of the misconceptions I've faced.

I questioned my abilities as an individual on the spectrum.

Locking myself in the restroom, with tears falling like rivers from my eyes, I wondered if individuals on the spectrum even mattered; if we weren't poised to magnify our potential.

I threw a psuedo-tantrum in the restroom and I dropped my binder with all the papers inside falling out. The first paper I grabbed, my high school placement courses, at first only made me feel upset, as I saw the words "English intervention" circled as if to add insult to injury.

I kept starting at the words, wondering why I would get this course as opposed to one that matched my abilities.

That's when I had my turning point.

The way individuals formulate an idea of you is inherently wrong, so rather than listening to what others say about you, you just listen to what others say about you to fuel your flame, I pondered to myself.

"I'm not a detriment. Having Autism isn't a detriment!" I yelled at the mirror. "The detriment are labels, the status quo imposed onto our community, all the misconceptions intended to diminish anyone on the spectrum! I was never cursed to begin with!"

"I need to fix this."

The herculan challenge to penetrate the status quo engraved into our society is that I first became passionate about when I took the initiative to fight for my courses.

Rather than accepting the status quo, I was set to destroy it.

It was the stereotype that held me under thumbs that was steering me. Reentering the courses was only a fragment of the story. The aspiration to showcase my potential beyond the labels is what kindled and sparked my flame; the flame of standing out.

Boasting the opportunity to talk with a member of the Board of Education, I affirmed my circumstance and how it was abysmal towards both my academics and my identity. This augmentation persisted through my IEP, where my resilience alongside my proclamation that I was "Different, not less" revealed the document that allowed me to reattain Honors English ½ and AP courses.

Printing my signature in royal blue ink, this signature not only pinpointed the moment where I demonstrated my persistence in a gargantuan magnitude: it also pinpointed the moment where I became more in tune with my identity.

As I began high school, I was set to dismantle any form of discrimination imposed onto my community. I set up a Autism Awareness and Suicide Awareness initiatives, where as the president for both clubs, I fundraised over $50k in total for organizations exposing more about the respective awarenesses. My school became accepting of individuals with distinctions, as they perceived that we aren't labels attached to a body: were human, just like them.

Printing my signature in royal blue ink, this signature not only pinpointed the moment where I demonstrated my persistence in a gargantuan magnitude: it also pinpointed the moment where I became more in tune with my identity.

This reslience I gained enabled me to perform to my abilities in high school, where I was able to get into an elite university for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and where I'm currently pursuing my dream of creating a hardware start-up in California one day.

Being able to dismantle the misconceptions and stigma at my high school acted as a primer for me to become a advocate for not just individuals on the spectrum, but individuals with disabilities.

The term "disability" embodies the idea that there's something that were unable to achieve on the basis of our labels, that there's something wrong with us.

There's no doubt that this is a common stigma that individuals tend to refer us to, and this is driven by the verity that there's a negative connotation attached to individuals with discrimination.

I'm exhausted, and I'm going to fight back for disability awareness.

The ratio of Autism individuals to neurotypical individuals is only lowering more and more, which means that proper awareness of the spectrum must be implemented, fast.

That's where my YouTube blog "The Autistic Blogger" comes in, by sharing my story and proposing multiple dynamics to implement societal awareness and acceptance of disabilities, we can push for that future where we're not seen as inferior anymore, and where misconceptions about disabilities are eliminated.

I endured a lot as an individual with the spectrum. Moments where I felt inferior, meaningless to world is a feeling that I don't want anyone in the spectrum to feel at any point of their lives.

This is the aim, and our community of wonderful dynamics, be it my blog, Embracing Special Needs, or even you, reading this blog to expand your understanding of the Autism Spectrum to implement societal awareness, were all working arduously towards that goal. We will one day reach that point where no one has to go through what I did, where there's no misconceptions outweighing the verity of the spectrum, but for now, we have work to do.

So even though there will be days where you, or your child, even I will be patronized, discriminated, infantilized, remember this one vital statement that speaks true to everyone:

You are poised to magnify your potential.

About the Author

the Autistic Blogger

Hello, I am The Autistic Blogger! I am an 18 year old male with the aim of blogging my experience on the spectrum and proposing many ideas to implement societal awareness to disabilities. I am passionate about helping others and paving the road towards promoting contextual diversity in our world. I am a first year Electrical Engineering and Computer Science undergraduate with the goal of creating a hardware start-up.