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  • Michelle Vinokurov

April is National Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month!

Updated: Apr 14




Personally, I learned about being autistic when I was in 6th grade, even though I was diagnosed with autism around the age of two. My family and I were at a family’s friend house one day, and we watched Dr. Temple Grandin’s HBO documentary film. After the film, my parents shared how I was like Dr. Temple in some ways. From there, I finally began to understand how I live differently from everyone. I was shocked at first, but learning about living with Autism helped me learn about myself a lot:

  1. I have a deep passion in my special interests. I have interests in baking, drawings, writing, etc. My main special interest is educating and helping people with disabilities, including the autism community. It all started for me back in Colts Neck High School for an after-school program for students with disabilities called, "Cougar Connections". Ever since then, I have been working directly with students with disabilities as a paraprofessional. Currently, I have been in college studying Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for my bachelor's degree, and will eventually provide ABA therapy for clients with autism. My passions have been helping me grow in my career and life.

  2. I am perseverant. No matter the obstacles I have encountered throughout my life, I never gave up and kept on going to get where I want to be at. For example, my mom wanted me to learn self-defense because it would help me improve my motor skills and self-control, so she signed me up for taekwondo classes at ATA Black Belt Academy. I was one of a couple of students with a disability that was put into regular taekwondo classes. Even though it took me more time to get down the steps when performing forms and sparring others, I earned my black belt when I was 10 years old! It was December of 2008. My older sister Samantha and I earned our black belts on the same day! It turned out to be my favorite activity of all time, and I will never forget my experience there!

  3. I am loyal and committed! I am so grateful for all of the people who are still in my life, no matter the number of changes that have occurred. If you ask any of my friends, they can tell you I am loyal because I am always there for them through the good and bad times, no matter what. Plus, I am committed in all I do for myself and for others, such as supporting myself and others to thrive in life.

  4. I am accepting of differences. I do not really judge people for who they are because I believe people should be their real selves. The world needs all kinds of people!

What are the best aspects of yourself? How will you support Autsim Acceptance and Awareness Month? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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