Summer is the time for new beginnings as high school seniors transition from structured school-life to adulthood. With over 3,000 students diagnosed with autism in Fort Bend public schools, many are graduating having travelled a longer, or different road, but with the same hopes and dreams everyone else has.
Christy, 18 years old, is a graduating senior from Ridge Point High School and has autism spectrum disorder. “The thing I will miss most about high school is my teachers, especially Mrs. Cardwell,” said Christy. “Some of my favorite memories were Senior Scram and the parties Student Council threw.” What she values most in her school experiences is the same as her peers, “I like to go to the gym, horseback ride, play soccer, watch movies, and do Special Olympics activities like bowling and basketball,” continued Christy.
However, some things that are easy for most, require more effort on her and her family’s part. “I have trouble doing math and P.E. was also hard sometimes, with precision needed in some sports.” Christy also wanted to be more independent. “I wanted to be able to walk around the school by myself without a teacher.” After convincing her Mom and teachers, Christy was able to walk around the school, like her peers. Christy plans to attend to go into a work transition program in the fall, then hopes to attend University of Houston and aspires to be a nurse so she can help others.
When asked about autism, Christy would like everyone to know, “People like me, with autism, can be sensitive to sounds, might have trouble making eye contact, especially with strangers, and they mostly do not like hugs or touching (prefers fist bumps and high fives). Sometimes making new friends can be hard for people with autism.” She offers advice, “People with autism just want to be talked to like we are normal people, like everyone else. We want people to talk to us, not at us.”
For information on resources, transitional support and referrals call Hope For Three, 281,245.0643 or visit, hopeforthree.org