Sean: Autism is a Diagnosis NOT a Life Choice
Since as long as I can remember, I have been different from other people. Even when I was very young, I was hyperactive in school and had trouble managing my anger. I would throw tantrums and yell at people all the time. I really wanted to be more like my classmates—to be normal. But, I just couldn’t.
Eventually, my parents told me that I was autistic—that I had a condition called Asperger Syndrome. That means I have trouble meeting, relating to, and connecting with other people. That makes a normal life very difficult indeed. I struggle to find affordable housing, keep a long-term job, or stay in a relationship.
When I turned 20, my parents moved out of the area without telling me. I went to live in a homeless shelter, where I stayed for 75 days. The volunteers there fed me, made sure I had medical care, and helped me find a job. I am very grateful to all the people who helped me during a trying time.
The Next Chapter
Currently, I work part-time at Sam’s Club. I managed to find a room to rent for less than $600 a month in Sterling. But, it’s really hard to find affordable housing in Loudoun. I can’t drive, so I have to use public transportation to get to my job, run errands, and see my friends. But, there aren’t that many routes, and the buses don’t always run on the weekend, so I have to be careful of where I live and where I work.
One day, I would like to go back to Northern Virginia Community College and finish my Associate’s degree, but money challenges have stopped me so far. I think people who want to be independent and support themselves should be able to find the help they need.
No one in Loudoun should have to face life’s basic challenges alone.
Won’t you help us End the Need?