Autistic individuals process the world differently than the average person.
Everyone has their own experience, but as for those with autism, it can feel like being an alien on a different planet.
Alyssa Palomares is a second-semester student of Delta College and she is autistic.
“On my worse days, certain noises can inhibit my ability to study or focus,” said Palomares. “Sometimes, sudden loud or unpleasant noises (such as nails against chalkboards) can be enough to interrupt my workflow. It can make me forget what I’m working on, or what I was doing. It’s literally being inhibited by its presence, or even by a specific sound, because of how intense it feels. But on my better days, I’m able to block out noise more easily.”
April was Autism Acceptance Month, but Palomares said autism acceptance is something that should be considered year round.
“I don’t want it to be one month and done. I want my efforts to lead to change, be it by how others treat autistic people or by giving other autistics hope,” she said.
Palomares is interested in starting a club called Autistic Student Voices to provide a support system for other autistic students. She hopes to recruit members by next year.
“I’m doing this by my own will,” said Palomares. “I use my own resources, including time and lots of printer ink for the flyers I put up around campus.”
The flyers Palomares puts up urge potential donators against donating money to an organization called Autism Speaks, alleging the organization’s fundraising strategies promote fear, stigma and prejudice against autistic people.
A primary goal Palomares has for this club is to help put an end to the stigma against autistic individuals.
“The thing about autism is that the way it affects individuals is extremely diverse. When people think about autism, they usually picture individuals that throw tantrums in public or can’t do anything for themselves,” said Palomares. “And that is far from the truth.”
According to autismacceptancemonth.com, autism is a form of diversity called neurodiversity.
“Neurodiversity can enrich a society or community that embraces it; however, it is frequently met with prejudice and hostility by people who believe that there’s just one ‘right’ way for others to be, to think, or to act,” said autismacceptancemonth.com.
There are always resources for those in need of help. Palomares is one of these resources.
“I don’t want people to live their lives thinking that the fact their brain works differently inherently means that their experience is not as ‘legitimate,’” said Palomares. “I want others to live life to their fullest.”
For more information about supporting autistic individuals, you can contact Alyssa Palomares by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend her on Facebook at Alyssa Palomares.