“I want to be an independent person. I want to be able to stand on my own 2 feet”.
Ava is a senior, who’s into writing. She was diagnosed with autism at age 9. She calls herself high functioning, while she faces challenges.
“I have anxiety, depression, autism, ADD, the whole list.
Ava could be called the face of the autism community’s new message”.
“A lot of times it’s referred to as Autism Awareness, and we’re trying to move that to Autism acceptance.” Says Toyia Turner.
“We’re all about inclusion.”
Toyia Turner is sort of a super mom, who works at a credit union and volunteers at a non profit autism center, all while raising 2 kids with her husband. They take their son Rocco just about everywhere they go.
“He’s active, and it’s OK they don’t realize he has autism. We made a decision early on this is part of our life, we’re not going to change,” says Toyia.
Ava adds “people have a huge misconception of what autism meant. A lot of people equate it with a lack of intelligence. Even if you know that’s not true, it leaves a mark on your psyche”.
Experts say people with autism sometimes experience difficulty with social skills and sensory issues. Ava can relate to that and says she just wants to be accepted like everyone else.
Ava reminds you, “It’s not a disease. There’s nothing wrong with me Autism is a lot less that is something that you have, but something that you are.”