Abby shares how autism and Mid have impacted her life.

abby-connections-2022.jpgI’m Abby. And I have autism.

That’s usually where I start when I’m asked to introduce myself, but I’ll start at the beginning.

I’m from Davison, Michigan and I attended small, private schools throughout my education. I graduated high school with just 14 other people, have six siblings, and am the second youngest.

I was a highly autistic child. I was non-verbal. I didn’t speak or express my emotions. In fact, the first language I learned was American Sign Language or ASL.

My parents worked with me a lot and got me involved in activities that would help me develop communication skills. I modeled, I danced, I performed in theatre productions, and doing all of these things helped me learn how to express myself in healthy ways.

It’s been a journey. And that journey led me to Mid.

I was considering college destinations, and my sister suggested Mid.

I connected with people right away, as soon as I walked in the doors. I’ve met many people with diverse backgrounds. I’ve gotten to know my instructors because of the small class sizes. And I engaged with student organizations and resource groups, like the Human Rights & Wellness Club and TRIO, to make sure I connected to the campus community.

Many people with my condition don’t talk about it, but I’m motivated to share my story because I want to inspire others to try, share, and succeed.

I currently work as a caregiver with many non-verbal clients while I study math and science at Mid. I plan to transfer to Central Michigan University in the future to pursue a Therapeutic Recreation Degree and become an activity director. I hope to be able to give back and help others overcome their own barriers as people in my life have helped me.

Abby is an exceptional individual,” shared Amy Dykhouse, Coordinator of Mid’s Career Center and Student Accommodations. “She recognizes and names her autism openly, challenges herself to overcome it, and engages with others in positive, meaningful ways to enhance her college experience.

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