Growing Up with Autism - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Growing Up with Autism

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CODY, WYOMING -

Autism affects one out of every 88 children in the United States and growing up with the disorder poses many challenges.

"I had some friends when I went into high school that didn't know I had any type of disability and they would talk to me regularly like people do," said Hudson Schledewitz, a high school junior. "And then they found out I had autism and they would talk really slowly and try not to use big words and I'm like I do know how to talk. I'm not stupid."

Hudson was diagnosed with autism when he was 8, which is considered a late diagnosis.

"He was actually one of our students," said Beth Schledewitz, Hudson's mother and occupational therapist. "We adopted him."

Beth says early intervention and therapy are the keys to helping children with autism.

"The thing about autism is it's a spectrum disorder so no kids are alike," she said. "You kind of have to go into their world to pull them into ours and so we just try and get down into their level, their world, and pull them out and work with them whatever they're needing."

Others with autism say more people need to know about the disorder.

"They don't understand me because they don't know how autism kids are, how they are different with their talents," said Rebekka Gould, a ninth grader.

Rebekka loves writing and has even written many stories of her own.

"I would love to see her go to college," said Jennifer Gould, Rebekka's mother. "I would love to see her succeed in life and I know she will. It's not a matter if she's going to succeed. It's going to be how she does it and what I can do is provide the tools for her."

"Even though their brains are wired a different way and they don't quite think like us, they find ways to make everything work and they're functioning in this society that is so loud, that is so over-stimulating all the time and they're doing quite well," Beth said.

These kids want everyone to know autistic children are no different. They have the same dreams as other kids.

"I want to be a mechanic mostly because my sister's a mechanic and I really like cars," Hudson said. "I actually changed the oil on my dad's van, on my mom's car and I've rotated tires."

"I prefer being a writer," Rebekka said.

If you would like to learn more about the signs of autism, click on Connections.

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