Friday, April 4, 2008

Writer's Showcase: Jessica Brady

My name is Jessica, I am 25 years old. I have autism.

I attend college and have a 3.5 G.P.A. as well as being on the National Dean's List and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I bowl for the Special Olympics as well. I am also married. Even though I have achieved these things, and it may sound to you that I am normal, I'm not. I struggle to cook, clean, take care of myself. I don't talk very much, I rock, I spin, and I flap. Even though I struggle, I don't let it stop me. I depend on my uncle and aunt to help me everyday.

My husband has been through a lot for me and with me. I never met a person who was willing to love me, be with me, and be my best friend despite my disability. My typical day depends so much on others: when I wake up my uncle helps me to eat, dress, and drive to our errands. I stay with him during the day because I am unable to work. (Even though I attend college, work is too much for me to handle with my many sensory issues.)

Once evening comes, my husband comes home. He cooks, helps me shower, and the day starts over again the next morning. I know it puts a lot of stress on my family because of my autism, I don't have the words to express to them in a voice and so I write, type, and point to them to show them how much they mean to me. I wrote a poem on what it is to be in a world of my own:

I live in a world all of my own.
But I am not lonely.
I may not smile, but I'm happy.
I may not cry, but at times I'm sad.
I might have tantrums, but I don't know why I can't control them.
I like certain foods, textures, clothes, sounds, and temperatures, but I like to try new things.
I may not say much at times, but I'm always thinking.
I like rules, boundaries, routines, they help me to stay focused, even when brain isn't.
I may not look at you because at times I can't get my eyes to make contact, but I'm listening to every word.
I may walk away at times, but I'm not being rude, I just need time to regroup myself.
I don't like a lot of lights, people, noises, or too much stimulation, but I like to go out and to new places.
I am autism and I live in a world of my own.
I am autistic but all I need is love.
One day they will find a cure, one day there might be more help, till then I live in a world of my own, a place where I'm free to be me.

The poem displays what it feels like to have autism. I may never be normal, but I never let it stop me. I hope one day that there will be help for children as well as adults. America should remember our autistic children of today turn into autistic adults of tomorrow.

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