What is Autism?
Autism is an everyday part of my life. Autism is a neurological disorder that disrupts the development of communicative, social, and cognitive skills. Neurological disorders affect someone’s brain, they are invisible. You cannot look at someone and tell they are an individual with Autism, which is both a good and bad thing. People with Autism find it difficult to form relationships such as making friends because they have a tough time interacting reciprocally with others. Communicative delays are exemplified by a delay or even a complete lack of language. In the case of people with verbal ability, they are often unable to start or maintain a conversation with someone; their speech is characterized by something called echolalia when they will repeat a phrase over… and over…and over. Individuals with Autism usually are extremely talented in activities such as music or memorization. Kids with Autism sometimes flap their hands or rock their bodies making potential friends uncomfortable. Read More…
My ‘Best Buddies story’ starts in 2009, when I was a freshman at New York University (NYU). I was so happy to be in a big and exciting city, but also desperate for a sense of community. I attended the club fair during the first week of school to learn about opportunities to get involved at NYU, and met with the Best Buddies College Buddy Director (CBD).
I had heard about Best Buddies before because my older brother, who has an intellectual disability (IDD), was a part of the Best Buddies chapter at his high school. He benefitted so much from having a buddy to spend time with, and I knew that I wanted to give back to the organization.
I joined right away and became involved with the Best Buddies New York office, helping to plan the very first Best Buddies Friendship Walk in New York City. In all honesty, I was totally shocked that the committee members and Best Buddies staff were so open to hearing my ideas! This experience prepared me for the work I’m doing now as a Founding Member of the Best Buddies Young Leaders Council, which will be attending this year’s Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC).