Indiana families seek autism support

Balloon release for Autism Awareness / WTHI Photo
Balloon release for Autism Awareness / WTHI Photo

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Being diagnosed with autism was an eye-opening experience for Corey Anderson, and he has continued to learn more about his unique perspective on the world in the past two years.

“It was kind of a ‘well that makes sense’ reaction,” said Anderson, 25, who was diagnosed with autism at 23 years old. “You assume everyone else thinks exactly like you. . Once you can understand your differences, you can start to compensate for them.”

Throughout school, Anderson focused on dealing with his Attention Deficit Disorder. Now, he’s figured out how to work with his learning needs and is set to graduate from Purdue University’s College of Technology at Indiana University Kokomo this spring.

“There were always attention problems. I always needed to be visually stimulated,” he told the Kokomo Tribune ( ). “I’ve relied on my parents a lot to keep me on task.”

Anderson’s mother, Carol, suspected there was more at play during his grade school years than just ADD. He performed well on tests, got good grades in math and science classes but struggled with English, social skills and adjusting to a typical classroom environment, she said. Writing was the biggest challenge for him, and often Carol didn’t know who to turn to for help.

She and Corey attended Bona Vista’s National Autism Awareness Day events Wednesday, where they heard from autism experts and shared their experiences with other families who have been impacted by autism. Bona Vista students also held a balloon release to raise awareness.

Autism spectrum disorder covers a variety of brain development disorders that can affect social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

As Carol talked with other parents at Bona Vista, they agreed it can be difficult to work with schools to meet their children’s unique needs. Carol was hesitant to put the “special education” label on her son. She said it’s a common misconception that people with autism are not smart.


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