Hello! My name is Michael Rice and I was diagnosed with Autism when I was 10 years old. Although, I am high functioning in the spectrum, I have faced and overcome every challenge that came my way. Dealing with a disability may be hard at times, but with the support of my family and doctors, I have received every resource needed to move forward and live my life as a regular person.
When I was in the third grade I struggled tremendously in school and was eventually held back. Math and English were the two subjects I struggled with the most, from the crazy formulas, equations and my inability to write a decent essay. I was a very slow learner and couldn’t grasp or understand the value of the lessons my teachers taught. Furthermore, I would yell out during class and disrupt the many others trying to learn which affected me socially as well.
All of my life I have learned different methods to face challenges in school and with my disability; such as, being involved in the Special Education department. All throughout grade school I was afraid the students would find out and judge me, but I coped with it and I started getting A’s and B’s in my classes from all the great resources the department offered. Also, I was eligible for an IEP which allowed me to get more time on tests and homework which satisfied my needs. When I was younger I was accepted into a great organization called Harbor Regional Center. The organization helped me overcome many challenges when I was younger and will continue in the future. Now that I just started college Harbor Regional Center is promoting a program that I was accepted into called College to Career which helps people with disabilities live independently and go to college at Long Beach City College. They offer me a place to live in my own apartment, life coaching, daily counseling for school and when I graduate with my degree the people in the program will help me with job placement.
My disability has influenced my choice of study and career from being helped my whole life and overcoming challenges that made me become a better person and student in school makes me want to help others. I thought about getting into the health industry becoming a physical fitness trainer and help others who are not physically fit get into shape. My Autism has affected me as a person completely and knowing others health and physical fitness level does the same. Helping others as a career is something I would love to do because the enjoyment I get out of it is so surreal.
Having a disability has helped me open my perspective and become a better person. I also remind myself that I am so lucky to be able to have so many opportunities and obtain the education I need that most people dream of. Dealing with many ups and downs and overcoming all my challenges has groomed me to become independent and live in the real world. I have learned to accept myself and my disability to better myself and move forward to become successfyl. I’m different but proud and happy with who I am.