One of the reasons why I chose to intern with the American Autism Association (AAA) is because of their advocacy and mission statement, which aligned closely with my reasons for perusing a degree in Mental Health Psychology. Like AAA, I also wanted to increase awareness and acceptance for the individuals and families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as other disorders to remove the stigmatization surrounding them.
I feel that my passion for increasing awareness and acceptance grew stronger and stronger each day during my internship with AAA; specifically as I sifted through the voicemails, emails, and messages through our Autism Help Hotline from those in need. One day, a man left us a voicemail voicing his negative opinions about the autism community and why he doesn’t support it. He said things like, “People with autism are a waste of money, time, and resources for keeping them alive.” Although enraged by his harsh and hateful words, having to listen to his message about the autism community further fueled my commitment to AAA’s mission to increase autism awareness and acceptance. It also fueled my commitment to make a difference in the helping profession.
Throughout this internship, I have encountered so many wonderful parents, children, supporters and families that have been touched by the work we have done at AAA. One day, I hope to come back to AAA, teaming up with them to help families and individuals impacted by autism all over the world through their life-long journey.
Thank you for supporting the American Autism Association. It is because of your support that I was given this incredible opportunity.