Interning for the American Autism Association has been an experience I will always cherish. My time here has enhanced my work ethic and has given me new skills that I will carry with me into the future. I was able to delve into tasks that I previously had little experience with. Making presentations has never been something I am comfortable with, but getting the opportunity to present to different schools across New York and make webinar presentations has given me confidence in my public speaking skills. It was incredible to share the mission of AAA with young students who were all so eager to get involved and make a difference within the autism community.
In addition to public speaking, I also gained skills needed to plan events and fundraisers. Working on planning the Drink Good, Do Good pub-crawl event enhanced my leadership and organizational skills. It was such a beneficial learning experience to be involved in every step of the planning process.
I gained more experience learning about the various obstacles individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder face. Through the Help Hotline, I was able to interact with countless individuals and families affected by autism. Hearing their personal experiences was always interesting, as no experience was identical to another, though oftentimes also quite sad. Listening to their accounts made me not only more empathetic, but also more aware of the difficulties faced in the autism community. Being able to personally provide resources and help in anyway I saw fit made me feel extremely accomplished.
The most memorable experience I had during my time with the American Autism Association was working hands on with children in the Ballet For All Kids program. Watching the children progress throughout the semester was so heartwarming. Their practice each week culminated into a full dance routine by the end of the program, and their independent feeling of accomplishment was evident.
The guidance I had during this internship was a major reason for why it was such an positive educational opportunity. Eliane was there every step of the way to steer me in the right direction, though also allow me to learn independently. I feel as though this enabled me to grow as a person and has equipped me to eventually apply my experience in the future in my graduate school endeavors.
I am beyond grateful for the time I’ve spent with the American Autism Association. Even though my internship is unfortunately coming to an end, I will never stop advocating for the autism community and spreading autism awareness and acceptance. AAA’s mission is inspiring but the work they do to accomplish this mission is even more noteworthy. The individual’s involved in this organization work tirelessly to make the world a better place for anyone affected by autism and it was truly an honor to be part of such a remarkable organization, even for a short time.