I am Loud

by Conor Cleveland of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered

It has been difficult for me. I had been mainstreamed, but that did not always work because I am loud. Therefore I have to be by myself, so I don’t distract others. Being alone has been hard because I am a social person. I can’t help being so loud. I am loud because of my Autism. I am “stimulus aware.” This makes me need to drown it out. The stimulus that bothers me is light, noise, sounds from the lights, and people in the room. I love people, but they make too much noise. I have spent too much time going away in my head to escape the people in the room.

People do not understand and need to be educated on how to yap with a person like me. They assume that I am strange and stay away. This behavior hurts my feelings. Talking about disabilities is okay. I want to tell people why I behave the way that I do. My brain requires that I drown out excess stimulation so I can think. My hand movements help me to measure the world. I need to measure it. Measuring helps me to see because my sight is poor. As I measure, I program my brain for the future memory.

I would have mainstreamed better if I was in smaller classes of about 5 people and had the lights turned off. I loved being in the class “Community Connections” at high school because I liked going to help others and felt important. We went to the Lane Shops apartments and volunteered by giving food to the elderly, and helped at the craft class.

I did not know that I could walk or communicate before good teachers came along. I felt trapped in a dead man’s body. Good teachers encouraged me to try new things and I learned that I am able. Now I can walk, run, lift weights, and communicate by typing. I am alive and every day is a party. Open more doors for me to run through.

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