My Life as an Autistic Black Man
By Robert James Parker | Published on November 9, 2020 | 5 Minute Read
My name is Robert James Parker and I was born on December 30th 1995 in Richmond, Virginia. One of 3 kids, and I am the oldest by 1&2 half years by my twin siblings. My parents are Deborah Parker McCord and Melvin McCord and my siblings are Lauren and Trey. Also I have two dogs Yoshi and Charlie. I am on the autism spectrum. My Mother noticed something was different about me early in my childhood. I didn’t have the verbal skills of other kids my age. I was diagnosed at two years old. At first, it was thought that I had a hearing issue, so my mom took me to another specialist to get tested but it turned out not to be the case. In fact, the doctor diagnosed me again with autism. My mom knew a little bit about it, but worried about me and how other people would accept me. The first person she called was My uncle Jim and told him what was going on with me. The next person to find out in my family was my Grandmother. She was always with me but this time she had been away on a cruise. My mom told her what was going on and my grandmother told my mom that I was going to be okay- not to worry. She was the first person that believed in me and she knew everything would be okay.
My mother got started with different exercises that she thought might help me learn and focus. She would have me work on different exercises to help me with my tactile functioning. For example, touching dry rice and noodles to help me and it worked for me. Also we practiced hugging as well. Unless it was from her and my family, I was not a big fan of physical touching, but overall I have gotten more comfortable with it.
Being social was good for me. I mainly would socialize with people that I could relate to. If someone needed help, I would go out of my way to help them out with some things. For example, at daycare I would see other kids playing with building blocks and if they were struggling putting them together, I assisted them and put those pieces together.
"My grandmother told my mom that I was going to be okay and not to worry. She was the first person that believed in me and she knew everything would be okay."
Fast forward to high school where I didn’t do a lot of after school activities. But in my junior year of high school, I found something that would change my life for the better. I joined a drama club and I was a part of the production crew. I operated lights and worked on the soundboard for the school plays. It was from that point that I wanted to make it into a career and I made a decision to go to college and study TV production. Unfortunately, my job counselor told me that college was not going to be a good fit for me. My mom told her that she believed that I could make it in college and my father encouraged me to go to college as well and in 2017, I got my associates degree in TV production.
Next, to help pursue this dream of mine, I have been using social media to get my voice heard. I started talking about my experiences with autism and I started to make vlogs about wanting to see black autistic individuals on television, in film, and in books. So far, it’s been a great experience interacting with parents and people themselves who are on the autism spectrum and who share their experiences with me. I feel really good about this and I realized that this is what I am meant to do. With this, my goal is to be an actor and hopefully play an autistic character on television.
Lastly, on a personal note I have some other goals. Just like any other young man, I want to have a wife and children some day.
About the Author
Robert James Parker
My name is Robert James Parker and I was born on December 30th 1995 in Richmond Virginia. One of 3 kids, and I am the oldest by 1&2 half years by my twin siblings. My parents are Debroah Parker MCCord and Melvin Mccord and my siblings are Lauren and Trey. Also I have two dogs Yoshi and Charlie. I am on the autism spectrum.