Autism Spectrum Disorder Superpower Mentors Stories

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month and celebrating and acknowledging those in our lives who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), some of our wonderful ASD Superpower Mentors have shared something about themselves with you!

We hope that their voices, ambitions, and perseverance inspires you to uplift other ASD people in your life and never stop encouraging them to live as authentically and passionately as themselves.

Thank you to the Superpower Mentors who participated in this tribute. We are proud and lucky to have you as part of our mission to empower the next generation of neurodiverse thinkers to confidently succeed in any environment.

Let’s keep #CelebratingDifferences

Alex A.

Being diagnosed with autism when I was 2 years old, my parents were told that a lot would be impossible for me. That I wouldn’t have a job. That I wouldn’t get past high school. The belief those beliefs could become realities led me to hide my diagnosis in fear of how it could affect me. After keeping my disability tucked away for so many years, I now fully embrace that autism is a part of me. It doesn’t define me, but it’s something that I am proud to share each and every day.

Ellie R.

Growing up with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presented its challenges, particularly during my school years. Leaving school to attend countless therapy appointments became routine, often leaving me feeling isolated and misunderstood. It was a journey marked by frustration and a sense of not belonging. However, everything changed when I found The Cottage School, a place that embraced me with open arms and provided the acceptance and support I had longed for. Suddenly, I was not just a student struggling to fit in but a valued member of a nurturing community.

Once I found a productive and healthy environment that taught me how to thrive despite the challenges of having ASD, everything else fell into place. My journey with ASD has shaped me into a resilient individual, capable of overcoming obstacles and hardship alike. It has ultimately led me to a place of fulfillment and purpose, where I can inspire and empower young minds as a lead Pre-School teacher, with the same compassion and understanding that I received along my own journey.

Shea B.

I'm an autistic self-advocate, and am proud of my neurodiversity. There's not a world where I could imagine not being autistic - it is a core aspect of my identity, something intrinsic to the way I operate. To be honest, my autism is not solely a disability nor is it exclusively a superpower. Sensory surges of lights, sounds, smells, and textures can absolutely overwhelm me, and I struggle in tense social scenarios. With that being said, I am a keen problem solver and have strong emotional empathy and understanding for others. I recognize autism as being both a disability and something that allows me to excel in certain areas - Describing me as being "on the spectrum" doesn't even scratch the surface of the nuances of my identity. There's so much more nuance and complexity to me, and to every autistic person, that can be captured with over-generalizations!

Ryan S.

I have an MPA, and I am an autistic self-advocate. I love geography, board games, and pizza. And I stim, I talk about cartoons. All I wanted growing up was acceptance. And I’m here so others like me feel like they belong.

Humanity is more than what’s considered “normal”.

Steph M.

I am a proud auDHDer (diagnosed with ADHD and Autism). As a child, I spent a lot of time thinking and wishing that my brain functioned differently. Oh, the things that I wish I could tell my younger self! I would tell her that it's okay to like birds, get excited, and move to whatever beat my body tells me to (welcome to the world of stimming!). Self-expression is core to my identity, but required quite a bit of confidence to get myself there! Today, I feel very lucky to empower my mentees in a similar way that I wish was done for me.

Now as an adult, I've found strategies and tools that help me manage my day-to-day resulting in more confidence than the younger version of me ever thought was possible. Recognizing that there was nothing "wrong" with myself or my brain allowed me to unlock my true potential. Since embracing this part of my life and truly myself, I have traveled the world, become a polyglot, and shared my love for birds with thousands!