On being a Jew with Autism: Advocacy

In this day and age people either know someone who has Autism or are Autistic themselves. I wrote my last blog to set my foot in the door. As someone who believes in Advocacy, I want to do things like public speaking and standup comedy and I write, I want to eventually open my own restaurant and be on Saturday Night Live and the Simpsons.

On my mother’s side, I’m the 3rd eldest of 8 grandchildren. On my Father’s side I’m the eldest of 4 grandchildren. I’m human just like anyone else but I’m the only one with Autism on both sides who’s willing to make a change for people with Autism. In part 3, we’ll discuss education.

For those unfamiliar with A Bar Mitzvah, it requires a lot of Education, Preparation, Determination and it’s all about the destination. My portion, Sh’emini, was all about boundaries and rules. I remember the first 3 words, “Ki Ani Adonai” Honestly I don’t remember the rest. The Rabbi is only there to help, but YOU are in charge during that service.

My Bar Mitzvah was 7 months after the 9/11 terrorist attack. 3 years after my Bar Mitzvah when I was a high school Sophomore, I spoke at an interfaith service in Downtown Seattle. My Speech was well received and had people saying I did a great job with it. Public speaking isn’t for all autistic people, in fact, it takes a rare breed to step forward.

Towards the end of my sophomore year, I was confirmed and we each needed to give a confirmation speech. I was not afraid to admit to having Autism. If I could get a job working at a mental illness center as a desk receptionist, I’d have no problem. Maybe speak publicly for Autism Speaks or a supporter of some Tourette’s group But, I digress

As I got into college, I attended not 1, not 2, but 10 leadership conferences. I met 2 of them through student leadership one of which got my degree, the other one was there for the degree and he got involved with student leadership. Two of them I knew in high school.

So here’s my advice to people who are on the spectrum:

Only YOU know your life. YOU are in the driver’s seat.

Take charge of YOUR life.

A sense of humor will help get you far

Make the best with what you have

and Finally

Be Patient! I cannot stress this point enough. Keep yourself busy with multiple hobbies

 

To those who aren’t on the spectrum:

Be Understanding – No two autistic people are alike. I know I said that last time, but you have to realize that life is full of gray areas.

Share strategies – Just because someone has Autism, doesn’t mean that they don’t care.

Don’t treat them like they’re stupid – People with Autism have different ways of looking at something that you might not have thought of

 

Finally a mutual point for both parties

Respect boundaries – If someone doesn’t smoke and you do, find a way to compromise. Life is what you make of it, you can only make your life work according to you. I started this blog since I actually want to get a job at some sort of advocacy mentall illness focus group. For Example, right now I currently make meals at Hero House. Hero House is a wellness center dedicated to helping people seek employment and just a positive place for people. My dream job is to be an advocate for a non profit such as Hero House. Eventually I want to speak for something like that, but for an Autism focus group. If you’d like to find out more about Hero House, visit our website at:

http://www.herohouse.org

If you are interested in becoming a member and would like to try one of our lunches, they are $2. This might seem like a shameless plug but I’m trying to promote this non profit. Thank you

 

On being a Jew with Autism: Advocacy

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