awesome with a side of extra awesome

NY here we come Oct 2013 005

{image is a photo of Conner heading off to New York last year. He’s showing off his snazzy suitcase, on which his cousin Kevin painted a brightly colored autism ribbon as a surprise. Looking at Conner’s face, it’s pretty clear that it was a very good surprise.}

Yesterday, I got a message from my buddy, Conner, an autistic 21 year-old young man who, along with his mom, writes over at Conquer For Conner – My Special Love. You might remember Conner from this video that I posted recently. if you haven’t seen it yet, you must. It’s pure awesome with a side of extra awesome. Trust me.

But yesterday, Conner had something else to share. For his homeschool communication class, Conner had to choose an article to which he felt that he could relate and then write about it in his own words. I am honored and grateful and downright giddy that he chose to write about Diary. And even better, he’s agreed to let me share it here with you. I know, right?

So, without further adieu, I give you, Conner, in his own words.

I like your story about what happens to your daughter in the future of autism because it’s about special needs for autistic people. And when people understand the meaning of autism, they make the world a better place.

Nonspeaking means speaking using your hands, typing on the computer, pointing to pictures, speaking with word boards, that’s the way I spoke when I was little. Or you can even do sign language.

I want you to know that I care about people who are sick, hurt, hungry or even have no money or clothes or toys or anything because I like to help people and make them feel better like when they are sick I give them medicine or when they are hurt I give them bandage, or when they get hungry I give them food, or instead of throwing old toys or clothes I give them to people who don’t have any.

I think that autism can be special but can also be a disability and it could be a source of caring at the very same time. My disability for me is to control noises and hand gestures. To gain peace inside me when everything outside is loud, chaotic and confusing. To never stop trying things that interest me. I call this grown up day and I choose 3 things I want to try maybe again or maybe first time. I love these days. Sometimes I can do them now and sometimes not. Sometimes I want to scream or cry or rock to make it stop. I know though that next week or next month I may like it. This is me growing up to be me. When I was little, I struggled with noises and movement and sounds and now as I have gotten older it has gotten a little better for me. I still struggle with communication I write better than I can speak because I can think through my words. I do not understand always what people are saying. I try not to sniff woman’s hair because that is not appropriate behavior. I like to hug but I can only hug certain people never strangers. I especially like to hug my favorite Disney characters because there my friends

Brooke has a mom and a dad and sister named Katie who lives at home and you all help her. I read about how you as Brooke’s parents helping to plan Brooke’s future as it changes as she gets older. My home is me and my mom and we’re planning my future together and it can change also with my changes and growths. I am 21 and I am still achieving goals, I still have much that I will learn and I will conquer and I will achieve. I still have challenges that I will have to face with my mom but they are about me.

You thanked us for sharing who we are. And I want to thank you for supporting us and letting us speak.

My goal is to change a parental support law for disabled and special children over the age of 18. My goal is to talk to families the best I can with words or my writing. I will get better at this. I will tell families that they can communicate in any language whether it is one of the 21 that I spoke or whether it is signing, or typing or touching or smiling to speak. My goal is to be a photographer and take pictures so that people can really see and feel my pictures. My eyes can speak to my mom when words don’t come. My mom knows when to sit on the floor in my room and just smile at me and when to hold me. It took awhile but together we worked it out. This is what you are saying I think. Take the time to learn about me and you and you and all of us, ask questions but if I cannot answer right try a different way to ask. If you think I am not listening to you because I do not look at you that is wrong. I hear you when you say nice things and I hear you when you say not nice things. If I try something and I cannot do it that does not mean that tomorrow or the next day I cannot. Do not give up on me. My mom never gives up on me. Any time I want to try something she is the first one there to help. Mom says I am the most determined and strongest person she has ever met. And Believe is my favorite word. You said all these things I think in your Transcending diagnosis. I think that is what you said. That is what I read.

I am one of me I am many of me’s I am autistic. I will not stop trying and not stop believing and not stop dreaming, and not give up my dreams. Dreams do come true and my dream is to make a difference and make the world a better place. Thank you Ms. Diary for your article. I hope I did it right for you and it makes sense to help other people. Please and thank you.

The end.

To follow Conner and his mom, click –> HERE <–

To watch Conner’s video, click –> HERE <–

To learn more about Conner’s Law, click –> HERE <–

34 thoughts on “awesome with a side of extra awesome

  1. You know who you are, you know what you want to say, you find YOUR way to say it … Thank you Conner, for another vital and valuable peek into the experience of Autism from the inside. We are blessed to have voices (in whatever form they are expressed) such as yours.

  2. What an amazing message! These posts give me such hope, admiration and inspiration all at the same time! I know that my son’ swords are only emerging and that learning HIS languages and forms of communication is my job. Thank you Conner! I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you. I truly believe that you are already making a difference:)

  3. Wow!! Connor, you give me a lot of hope. You and your mom are both amazing people. It sounds like you have the same bond with her that I have with my son. Your video was great. Keep reaching for your goals.

  4. Conner, you always blow me away with your strength and courage! I love to read what you write because it reflects your depth of courage and gives us all insight into the life of living with autism. Through you, I am learning more about this condition everyday! Thank you for being a voice in this battle to educate us about autism and the battle within that you fight everyday!

  5. I think you totally got what Jess is trying to teach everyone. Everyone has a voice, we just have to figure out how to communicate with them. My daughter didn’t talk until she was 3, but since then, she has a lot to say. Thanks for sharing with us Conner, loved your post!

  6. Conner, Believe is one of my favorite words too. I hope you follow that dream of becoming a photographer. I can’t wait to see the amazing photos you take.

  7. Connor: thank you so much for sharing this, not just with Jess, but with all of us. Your words have brought tears to my eyes (the happy kind) because I am so encouraged by your determination! My son is 7, also autistic, and I love to hear from people like you who help me understand what life is like for him, since he is not yet able. I want to be like your mom, knowing when to be calm and when to hug. Yesterday he was upset when it was time to stop playing his video game and he slammed the door shut on me, all I wanted was to hold him and help him feel calm. It took a few minutes, but he got there. Thank you for advocating for people like my son, and for reminding us to never give up on these wonderful people 🙂

  8. Connor you are an amazing young man! You give me hope for my son who is 14 years old. He has Down Syndrome and autism and is non-verbal.he is amazing also.Good Luck with your photography .I would really love to see your photos! Much love to you and your mom!

  9. Conner, this definitely was awesome with a side of awesome. I love reading the works of autistic adults, they always give me hope and reinforce my belief that my autistic son has so much to look forward to as he grows. Keep up the great work…and best of luck with your writing and photography.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing about yourself!! You are a very insightful young man with so much to teach all of us! Please continue to share, there are so any of us who could look to you for guidance and inspiration!! You. Are. Awesome!!

  11. Connor–I couldn’t think of a more admirable goal. You are incredible.

    When I first began my journey with my son, I kept thinking, “we don’t understand him, he doesn’t understand us.”

    I kept thinking, “we don’t speak each other’s language and that makes me sad.”

    You know what’s funny (not haha funny, but ironic funny?)

    That I let a word like autistic stop me from looking inside of myself at first so I could connect with my Ethan like your mom has connected with you.

    When I started looking inside of myself, I found myself, too. I found out that my son and I are just alike, as in, we both are on the spectrum.

    These days, we are incredibly close. We both just know by looking in each other’s eyes when we just need hugs or to be held. And my husband has learned to watch, too, and when to jump in and just be there for us.

    That’s true love 🙂

    You rock, Connor. I admire you and your strength.

  12. Awesome, Connor- super awesome! What an inspiration you are to so many! Thank you for your post. I do the same things your mom does for you and you just basically let me know that I am doing the right thing! Thank you!!!!!

  13. Conner….. I can see why your favorite word is BELIEVE…. you have made a believer out of ME too. I hope that you don’t mind me being one of your followers…. you have a lot of information to share and you communicate your thoughts so well. Thank you and your Mom for being who you are and for sharing yourselves with me.

  14. “Take the time to learn about me and you and you and all of us..” Such wise words that all of us–every human being needs to practice. Thank you, Conner, for your wisdom.

  15. Fabulous essay Connor. Your words are important and very meaningful. Thank you for sharing them. I am impressed by your positive outlook and determination. I have no doubt you will accomplish great things. In fact, you already have. You are an inspiration and a role model for everyone. Well done.

  16. You are an amazing young man with an amazing mother too. I look forward to following your posts and watching you grow as a person. Know that you encourage people with all that you do!

  17. Conner, thank you so much for sharing your insightful thoughts. Do not be concerned that you did not do it right, because you wrote beautifully, and all these people have noticed! Also, I think I learned from you (and Jess) that your way is just as right as any other. Around here we call that being “not wrong” and it’s a glorious thing. Neurotypical people (like me) just need to be more flexible in order to learn all of the wonderful things that you and others with Autism have to teach us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, for writing so perfectly about you!

  18. This warmed my heart. Conner any mom would be proud to call you their son. I`m going to go and hug mine right now and thank you for your post.

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