Photo by: Shutterstock

Emily's Story

by Emily Bills
Photo by: Shutterstock

Hello, my name is Emily. I’m 19 years old and I have high-functioning autism. I was diagnosed when I was 2 ½, when my parents noticed that I stopped talking and developing normally. Once I was diagnosed in October of 1996, I was put into speech and occupational therapy right away. My parents were, and have always been supportive of me. My mother even got a job at a non-profit organization, working with individuals with special needs and their families, making sure that they have the resources needed to help children and adults with disabilities live a normal life

When I was younger, I wasn’t nearly as high functioning as I am now. I would have troubles sleeping at night. I had a fair amount of OCD, where for a while, my clothes had to match head to toe, or I would freak out. Like Temple Grandin, I was fascinated with farm animals, and loved everything to do with them, especially horses. I didn’t like loud noises or crowds since they would heighten my anxiety. I preferred to play by myself, rather than others, since I had a difficult time making friends at school. I was also very into reading, and would stay up all hours of the night, immersed into a book I was reading. I would also have regular meltdowns that would last for hours.

My therapists thought that I would never be able to go to a mainstream school, learn how to drive, keep a job, get married, or be able to live on my own. That was when I began my determination to exceed expectations, and be able to prove anyone who doubted me wrong. I was put in an IEP program when I went to a preschool specializing with special needs children at three years old. My teachers were excellent with working on my social skills, as well as my education. Since then, I learned how to read when I was four years old. I was good at remembering things with details. I also was able to remember names, along with their birthdays. By the time I turned five, my teachers ran out of things to teach me that were in their curriculum because I picked it up so quickly, so they started teaching me things that I would learn in kindergarten.

Now that I’m a young adult, I’ve overcome a lot. I’m currently going to college to become a special education teacher. I work part-time in a call center for an anesthesia medical billing company as a client service representative. I graduated from IEP program when I was in 9th grade. I have a driver’s license. I graduated high school in 2012 with a 3.2 GPA. I have lots of friends that I love hanging out with. I’m getting married on July 5th, 2013 to an amazing guy, who loves me and accepts me for who I am. He’s the person who’s given me the confidence to accept that I have autism, and that it’s a blessing, not a curse. He’s helped me whenever my anxiety would spike, or whenever I’m just having a bad day. Because of him, I was able to have the courage to write this story, and share it with the world.

Even though I’ve overcome a lot with my autism, I still have some quirks. I still have some OCD tendencies. Crowds spike my anxiety levels, and I tend to stay away from them when I can. I have texture issues, regarding food, especially with most fruit. There are times where I don’t pick up on sarcasm, but I’m able to pick up on it most of the time. I hate when most people touch my hair, unless it’s someone I trust. I have sensitive hearing, which makes high-pitch frequencies make me cringe. Most people can’t tell that I have it, unless I tell them.

For you parents out there with children on the autism spectrum, don’t give up on them. Help them reach for their potential. Look for the talents they have, and help develop them. My parents didn’t give up on me, and I’m forever grateful for them, because I get to live a normal life.

Now I want to ask you, do you know anyone on the autism spectrum? How can you positively impact their life?

Emily lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she self-advocates for autism awareness. On top of that, she’s juggling a part-time job, getting her special education degree, taking taekwon-do, and planning her upcoming wedding. She is also starting up a Facebook page called “Rocking Autism: Emily’s Story,” which will be up and running the second week of May. Be sure to look for it!

Like This Article

Like Mamapedia

Learn From Moms Like You

Get answers, tips, deals, and amazing advice from other Moms.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us
Want to become a contributor?
Want to become a contributor?

If you'd like to contribute to the Wisdom of Moms on Mamapedia, please sign up here to learn more: Sign Up

Recent Voices Posts

See all