Seeing the World Differently
By Kyle Moriarty
Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered
April was Autism Awareness Month. Even thought April is over, here are things I want people to know about me.
My name is Kyle Moriarty. I am twenty-one years old and I attend Montpelier High School in Vermont. There are many barriers in my way. One barrier for me is not having someone to support my typing. With support I am able to express my feelings and ideas. This helps reduce my level of stress because I can communicate.
I must say it has been a tremendous benefit to my life to learn how to type. Even though I can talk I am not understood by most people. When I talk I can’t express my hopes and desires to my parents and friends but with typing I can say what I am thinking and be understood. “Not being able to talk is not the same as not having something to say.” The world is a cruel place without communication.
Another barrier is people’s ignorance about people with disabilities. They believe that people with disabilities can’t be productive members of society. We have to prove ourselves first because they don’t see our potential until we show them.
I see the world differently. Things around me are in the way and I need to take time to understand that they are in the right place before I move. When I start an activity I need to take time to focus because my body experiences space differently.
I have problems with loud sounds. I need to have frequent breaks when I am in crowded places. When I listen to a lot of information it is hard to keep it clear in my mind.
Like lots of other people I have trouble focusing for long periods of time. I need to have things well structured and scheduled. I need to take time to complete tasks because I need time to organize my ideas.
It gave me a great opportunity to prepare and present material in a much larger forum. I had an important audience and it was a much bigger group to talk to. Although it produced a lot of anxiety I used my support systems to help me through. I met great and influential people. My parents were very proud of me both of them had never experienced something like that.
The conference gave me the voice to speak up strongly for students with autism. They should have access to Facilitated Communication much earlier in life then I did. I am determined to crusade on and speak up for those who can’t until they can.
Last year I completed an internship with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott at the Vermont State House. He asked me to attend some legislative committee meetings and inform him of what was going on. I attended meetings of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee because they were discussing a new health care bill that will have an impact on people with disabilities. Working for Phil Scott helped me get noticed at the State House and allowed me to advocate for people with disabilities. I learned to trust myself and developed confidence in my ability to function in the outside world. Being involved in society helps me to gain confidence in myself and it teaches society to accept people with disabilities as capable people.
Kyle Moriarty is a self-advocate and a member of the Vermont Communication Task Force.