As part of Autism Awareness Month, this year we asked CIP students from all of our centers to tell us why awareness is important to them. We hope you find their answers empowering and enlightening.
By Dan P
1st Year CIP Brevard Student
To me, Autism Awareness Month each April helps bring to light differences that people have… but also how those differences can be strengths. And hopefully through public and media efforts, the community can begin to overcome stigmas and stereotypes associated with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. As someone who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 2, it is my hope that others will get to know me and my strengths rather than make judgments based on preconceived notions.
Over the years, I have faced many challenges growing up with autism while attending school and preparing for a career. And I realize that autism doesn’t just affect individuals with autism… it can also be very difficult on families as a whole (for example, when dealing with communication and social thinking challenges).
Last year, I decided to attend the CIP Brevard Center because my end goal is independence. CIP has enabled me to further my education by attending college at EFSC with supports and secure an internship (at the King Center for Performing Arts) in my primary field of interest. CIP staff provide excellent guidance to help me make informed decisions as I navigate through life.
For Autism Awareness Month this year, I decided to be the CIP Brevard team captain for the Treasure Coast Autism Speaks Walk so I could help motivate my fellow students and staff to raise awareness and funds. It is awesome that our CIP Brevard Center team raised $4704 and was named the #1 Treasure Coast team. I am also grateful to everyone who supported me personally. Many thanks to the 19 family and friend sponsors (contributing $25 to $1,000 each) who helped me raise $3314 for Autism Speaks and be the top Treasure Coast fundraiser!