Being a teenager is a confusing time in someone’s life. People typically experience an awkward stage, there are constant feelings of insecurity, and you strive to fit in in school while attempting to “find yourself”. Now, imagine being a teenager going through all these experiences, and then picture yourself experiencing these as someone with autism. You may struggle with socializing, communicating, or overstimulation of your senses. People might judge you, or view you as being different because of your diagnosis. Being a teenager with autism is not an easy path, and we understand the hardships that teens today may face. Katherine Black is an inspiring recent college graduate who overcame these hardships during high school, and has since excelled. She shares with us her story, under the spectrum.

Many might think, “Well how do teens with autism do it?” It was through her love and passion for acting and dancing that she was able to overcome her obstacles. Katherine was determined to prove to others that despite having autism, that she can achieve greatness and that if she can do it, so can others.

Throughout her childhood and into high school, Katherine denied her autism. She refused to accept the fact that she had a disability. Over time, she learned that this denial only harmed her. For years, she was afraid to go to birthday parties or any social gatherings where there might be loud noises such as balloons popping or fireworks. She avoided any forms of physical affection, such as hugging. Her trouble with speech, and her tendency to avoid social situations had Katherine experience a somewhat isolated high school experience.

During her junior year of high school, she finally accepted her autism. She pushed herself to excel in school every single day. Katherine worked her way out of the special education courses, and began to attend regular classes. She began to blossom.

Katherine attended and successfully graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater, with a minor in Dance. Today, Katherine is flourishing in the post-college real world where she finds herself dancing, filming shoots, and modeling.

“Acting has helped me with my language disability especially with dancing where it seems like doing sign language.”

A lot of us might think that because autism, goals and dreams may never come true. The American Autism Association hopes that Katherine’s story, among many others, inspires you to surpass any obstacles you may face. Say to yourself, “If she can do it, so can I!” But most importantly, find your passion for something that liberates you and brings joy to your life!

The American Autism Association is proud to offer completely free of cost recreational programs for children on the spectrum. Our programs have proven to help children not only in their social and motor skills, but increasing their self-confidence. The positive development that acts as a result from our programs will help pave a brighter future for your child. For more information on our programs, please email us at [email protected]. If you would like your story featured on our blog, please contact us via Facebook, Instagram, or at [email protected].

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