I’ve had a wonderful summer, with lots of different activities—folk-dancing, hiking, biking, and rehearsing for a musical (we’re doing “Annie”, and I’m playing Daddy Warbucks, the leading male role). Also, I’m especially proud that I got my first real paying job this summer. I had to write a small essay and go through a formal interview—they only chose about half of the kids that applied. My mom and I practiced for the interview, and one of the important phrases I learned is, “Can you say that in a different way? I’m not sure I understand.” Because of my autism, words don’t always mean the same thing to me as they do to other people. Like when someone asks, “What are your strengths?” I get the image of muscles in my mind and can’t remember what is really being asked. My mom and I came up with answers, and I had to memorize these—Mom kept drilling me on them because I’d get stuck on the wrong image every time, even after days of practice.
So, I’ve been working for Cultiva, a summer youth project that is part of Growing Gardens. We’ve been cultivating organic crops at a small farm within Boulder’s city limits. There’s lots of weeding to be done, and we harvest the vegetables and distribute them to co-op customers. We also spend time at the farmer’s market, gleaning produce which is then donated to shelters and soup kitchens. I’m proud that I got excellent write-ups from my supervisors—I’ve been working hard to keep my focus and stamina up during all those hours. That’s the thing with my autism—it makes me very ADD (Attention Deficit), and I’m trying hard to become a responsible adult, but my mind wants to escape. But, I managed—I know I’ve done a good job all summer long.