To my fourteen-year-old self,

Today, some day in September of eighth grade at your new school, you are going to get into an argument with Connor Hughes about whether or not you can recover from autism. He doesn’t think you can. From what I’ve seen, you will spend the next few years being afraid to tell almost anyone that you used to be autistic because you know most people don’t believe it. Well, this year, with the help of my family, I have come to terms with the fact that you actually can’t recover from autism and that all the Son-Rise program did was give us the tools to function well even while being on the spectrum. I know it might feel liberating to rip off the label that makes you feel like you are less than a human being, but instead of ripping off the label, you need to rip-off the attitude and embrace who you are as an autistic person.

Being autistic isn’t bad. It actually brings some specialness to one. Who knows? Our writing abilities may have come from us being on the spectrum! Plus, autism has brought other good things as well: think, if we weren’t autistic, we might have never met Giancarlo!  J

—Ben Levin. You. Your eighteen-year-old self.