Do You Always Disclose Your Diagnosis?

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Q10 - Do you always disclose your diagnosis to employers? A. Michael 's response, " I don 't always. When I do, it doesn 't seem to matter, as I work as hard, if not harder, than my coworkers. I don 't let this diagnosis hold me back or visibly identify that I 'm unique." Q11 - Was the college you attended receptive to your disability? And what types of assistance did they offer to you? A. Michael 's response, " I was in the Liberal Bridge Program when I first started college. They basically made sure I had the skills to function as a "normal college student" with study and work skills. I had a peer tutor for the first year of college that I would meet with every week just to make sure I was doing fine with keeping up with my homework and studying. She definitely helped me out a lot when I first transitioned from high school to college and from living at home to living in a dorm. While I was in college I had the opportunity to work for the college radio station as an announcer and that is when my nickname, "Autismo" came about. I needed an identifier and it was perfect. This was something I truly enjoyed - announcing on the radio." As you can see from my interview with Michael he has not let his diagnosis of being autistic hold him back from living his personal goal. When he was growing up and I was observing and/or witnessing the characteristics of autism: his reaction to simple changes, and his lack of emotion - I must admit I never thought he would make it on his own - as there are many individuals who have a diagnosis of autism who are not highly-functioning. Michael is the 3rd family member, on his parental side of the family, who is autistic and as we know autism diagnosis are on the rise - according to statistic... ... middle of paper ... ...and opinions. My intent is to never make anyone feel less then what they are - nor is it to embarrass anyone or make them feel shameful. I believe we are all "unique" in our own way. In closing I want to share what I read in my Psychiatric Rehabilitation textbook: "Accepting them (those with a disability) into the community helps to eliminate stigma because living and working in the community highlights their basic humanity, not their disability, (Pratt, C. ; Gill, K, 2014 pg. 15). Although, this statement is focused around mental illness - I feel it is true about any disability. Acceptance makes all the difference and I have seen proof in the life that Michael has lived - overcoming a disability that could have been disabling, but he choose to be different. I 'm so proud that he is my nephew, but even more so that he has not let his disability - disable him.

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