Student overcomes autism with acting

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Adults have always told me, “Being a kid is not hard. You go to school, you come home and you go to sleep.”

No doubt, I took those words to heart.

However, when you are diagnosed with autism in a world that takes pleasure in simply hiding behind words, that’s an entirely different story.

At age 6, I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. My life, up to this point, has not been an easy road and will not be any easier to explain. But as always, I will do my best. Though diagnosed as high-functioning, it was only natural that I kept to myself.

For most of my elementary-, middle- and high-school days, I was not much of a talker. I never adhered to the general aspects of life, and I was always off in my “own little world.”

Of course, nowadays, being mute or an “individual” in the modern school system can be an unwritten crime. It was hard to make friends and even harder to keep them. It was the other way around for my enemies, but I’ll keep that to myself.

Best of all, at a time when the disorder – and youth in general – was so misunderstood, many in the adult world practically rendered me inferior. But I had my ventilation: art.

I came across theater in high school. Yes, I am a theater major. I have high hopes with that choice, so please be quiet. Within the first half of my freshman year of high school – having never acted or spoken a word in public before – I landed a role in a play that traveled for competition to Tampa, Fla. And I’ve added to my résumé ever since.

Only recently did I figure that the world of theater helped bring me out of my shell, since I got free crash courses in interpersonal communications with every script. Today, I speak like anybody else, but I still come across a roadblock here or there, like trying to find the difference between “joking around” and “being rude.” – that’s a doosey.

In regards to writing, that is another success story, but I’ve got a word count, so here are the basics. Years ago, the experts told my parents I would never learn to read or write. Years later, I worked as an English tutor, achieved literary representation last December and started writing for the Collegian.

Unless asked, I’ll never bring up the subject again.

Grady Bolding is a sophomore in theater. Please send comments to edge@spub.ksu.edu.

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