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Social Struggles of an Asperkid

by: Nico Morales, Student at CLE Davie

Nico at CLE Fort LauderdaleThere’s a common assumption that people with autism are considered introverts, meaning that they aren’t very socially active. I, however, am somewhat of a unicorn, meaning a rare example. I am a highly extroversive young man despite my autism. I am most at ease when I am surrounded by other people who care about me, and vice versa. Unfortunately, this preference has caused more than enough problems for me. It has been brought to my attention that when it comes to making friends, I tend to appear somewhat desperate when I approach people. This usually results in me pushing them away, rather than bringing them closer. As for those who stick around, I realize that some are most likely just being polite and don’t want to hurt my feelings.

This issue doesn’t just apply to people I’m interested in becoming friends with, it also affects my chances of being in a relationship with a girl I’m interested in romantically. I often try too hard to be a girl’s first choice, or at least someone worth a second look, and it only hurts my chances of finding love. I suppose the reason behind it has something to do with my sense of impatience, coupled with the fact that my dad met my mom when he was my age and they’ve been together ever since. Either way, all these factors make it hard for me to let whatever happens happen naturally… but not impossible.

Nico at CLE Fort LauderdaleWhether it’s finding friends or a girlfriend, both are processes that occur at their own pace. That’s why I decided to be more reserved when it comes to putting myself on the metaphorical market. Instead of seemingly forcing myself onto people, I have been attempting to simply sit back, relax, and let whoever is interested come to me. I’ll admit, it hasn’t been easy, especially because of my extroversive nature and my (possible) pathological need to be liked. However, those characteristics are what make me special as a human being and an Asperkid, and that’s no reason to throw in the towel this early in the game.

When I first made the transition from high school life to college life, I was in no way familiar with the standard concepts and procedures of being social in this kind of environment. But sure enough, approximately 4 months after I put this plan into action, I currently have a thriving social life and a healthy relationship with a beautiful young woman who is also on the autism spectrum. So, while the struggle is real, the solution is unbelievable in terms of how well it works. I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the support and encouragement of the benevolent staff of College Living Experience.

Newsletter Articles – April 2016

Denise and Chris Cameron

Frequently I find myself reflecting on Autism and how it has formed me into the person I am today. I didn’t choose to walk this journey; but I was indeed selected to raise this beautiful boy of mine. I can see the transformations in myself that are all positive changes.

Each transition of Chris’s life always produced an enormous amount of stress for me. At times, that’s all that would occupy my mind. I often would get very attached to his teachers, to the extent that I would be fearful for him to move on to the next grade level. I never thought the new teacher would understand him or care for him. Always to my amazement, they seemed to be even more exceptional.

Paula Moraine, M.Ed.

CLE recently had an opportunity to sit down with Paula Moraine, M.Ed. Paula is an educational consultant, as well as a tutor, coach, mentor and author. Her first book, Helping Students Take Control of Everyday Executive Function, was recently followed by her new book, Autism and Everyday Executive Function.

Social skills training at CLE Austin

The common features among individuals with autism-spectrum disorders (ASD) are deficits in communication skills, behavior, and social functioning. With instruction and intervention, many individuals with ASD are able to overcome their barriers in communication and behavior. However, social challenges are often harder to overcome because individuals “on the spectrum” tend to stay behind the curve. As they get older, the skills seeming to be “second nature” to neurotypical peers become more complex, vague, or abstract. In preschool, it is socially appropriate for kids to engage in parallel play and this may be the extent of friendships at that age. Parallel play is a relatively uncomplicated activity. In college, interactions with others become as complicated as dating or managing multiple layers of friendships. Try to break this down into teachable steps; it is not easy. Many experts agree that the core deficit in ASD is in Theory of Mind, or the ability to view the world through the eyes of others. Many social interventions are geared toward teaching this skill, often innate in others, by helping students “read” the verbal and visual cues in others.

Meggie at CLE Monterey

My life with autism has been an interesting and challenging life, but I never imagined that I would be advocating for people and kids in the autism community.

It first started when I was in 8th grade. I was not properly diagnosed until I was 14 years old, and I felt like I needed to tell my classmates about why I acted and learned differently than they did. So I wrote a letter explaining my autism and I decided to read it out loud in front of my class, along with my teacher and school principal. When I first went up, I was a little nervous because I don’t always like talking in front of people, but I got over it fast. All I needed to do was read from my letter, and I did. When I was done, I got an applause. That was my first time telling my personal story of autism, and I thought as I got into high school, I could tell more about the autism community.

The Reason I Jump

Here at the College Living Experience Denver, we have ample experience interacting with students on the autistic spectrum who regularly display non-traditional social behaviors. However, understanding the reasons behind these actions has always been a conundrum.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.