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Finding the missing piece: my year working with children with autism

Josh Matsumoto, Reporter

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Autism, the word itself creates questions in those who read or hear it. Some fear the word and what it could mean, while others see the word as relatable and comforting. For me, when I first started working with kids with autism, I was just like those who never really seen it in person: scared. I currently work with a company that helps children with autism and the way I got introduced to it was through an old friend who knew I wanted to work with children. During this time I was feeling lost in my life and wanted to find something more than school and working 9 to 5. So when I accepted the job, I hoped for a change but it also created some fearful questions as well.

Several questions rolled through my head: What are these kids going to be like?Can I handle this? Is everything I have heard about autism really that bad?

The common misconception of kids with autism gave me stress thinking I was taking a load too heavy for me to bare. I feared that I would get hurt or even hurt a child’s growth because I didn’t have the patience.

Then it all happened, the kids came into my life and they ultimately changed the person I was.

The world has shown that kids with autism are either on the lower side of the spectrum and can barely function, but in reality some of the kids I work with are geniuses. They think in ways that we don’t and they speak in ways that seem awkward but they show determination to understand their world around them.

Yes, there are kids who do get aggressive and do say things that demoralize those who try to help, but it gets easier overtime. There could be days where the kids show so much love and happiness and then other days they could ultimately destroy your self-esteem. I have came to work with days of hopefulness and also came to work full of fears, but this created something greater for me: a purpose.

Knowing that I was helping a kid grow in a word that didn’t understand them created a sense of pride and satisfaction in my life. These kids have given me the stresses that created patience not only with them, but with situations that occur in my every day life. These kids have taught me to enjoy the life I have been given and use it as a tool to help others.

My year with autism was a journey that I needed to find in my life. It helped me search for a higher purpose in my life and even made me see things from a whole new perspective. It also encouraged me to nform others that autism isn’t something to fear, but something to give attention to and see that life can be a puzzle and sometimes you just need to find that missing piece.

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Finding the missing piece: my year working with children with autism