Story by Miranda Cain
April is recognized by the United States as National Autism Awareness Month. Austim and other disorders like Asperger’s Syndrome effect people, both with the disorders and without, in various ways unique to the person. Autism and Asperger’s are characterized as spectrum disorders. Spectrum disorders tend to affect communication and interaction skills.
Lorri Bohm and Lea Graber are two women that have been personally influenced by a spectrum disorder. Lea’s brother Cole has Asperger’s Syndrome while Lorri Bohm’s son has Austim.
“He[Joey] has a lot of trouble with communication. I think he knows what he wants, and I think most the time he understands what people ask, it’s just that he has to process it and I don’t think he can always pull the words out of the word bank in his head to express what he thinks or what he needs or what he wants” says Lorri.
“He [Cole] struggles in things like English, humanities, not really art, but social sciences. He’s brilliant at math” Lea explains.
As Autism grows more common in society, the need for awareness grows as well. People like Lorri and Lea are telling their stories more often and with more detail. Joey and Cole are being more accepted into common realms and instead of asking how we can make their uniqueness fit into our world, we’ve begun asking how our world can use their talents.
“Joey’s not autistic. Joey has autism. Joey has autism. He has austic tendencies. You know, he’s a person first” reminds Lorri.