Updated: Apr 25
This year, Autism Speaks is hosting the Kindness Campaign which challenges others to Live with Kindness, Lead with Kindness, and Learn with Kindness. As we start the last week of Autism Acceptance Month, Nu Sigma Sigma would like to feature our very own Basileus Advisor, Soror Cody Brown. Read further to learn about Soror Brown's experience as an adult living with autism.
"Autism DOES NOT prevent us from learning and succeeding in school (degree programs). However, when others are not aware or accepting of our differences and "special" needs, the simplest tasks or projects can be the most difficult. As someone who deals with anxiety when it comes to having to deal with people I don't know, an assignment that has to be completed with a group of classmates is worse than plucking my eyeballs out with a fork.
"As a Biotech graduate student, I quit the program several times due to the anxiety I experienced at the thought of having to work in a group. What was worse was that I was too embarrassed to let my advisor know that I have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD(. To me it's just one more label that will make people hate me or not want me around (I'm glad I was raised to be resilient!).
"However, because of the few people who continuously supported me, I finally told my advisor that I am dyslexic (diagnosed in 4th grade) with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ASD. The dynamic with the group work didn't change - what changed was my mindset due to all the encouragement I had from a few people including my advisor at the University of Maryland GC. Thank you to Aretha Waits, Corey Robinson, Tiffany Sanford, Jennifer Barragan, and Jenna Bossler - it was your kindness that led you to give me nothing but the sincerest encouraging words and the mental push I needed to help me complete my MSc Biotechnology in 2022!"
We hope Soror Brown's story inspires you to continue to choose kindness. Below are a few of her tips for Autism Acceptance 2023:
Highlight an autistic person in our lives - both their challenges and success
Help others understand terms like "neurodivergent, sensory overload, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD)"
Share that more information for children AND adults can be found at https://www.autismspeaks.org/
Did you find this information useful? Be sure to click the links below to share this blog to bring awareness and acceptance!