"One of the effects of autism is that fantasy dominates over reality and results in difficulty forming interpersonal relationships. At a young age, my parents learned I had autism. The psychologist who diagnosed me had only bad news for my family. In fact, he advised not to plan for my college education, as he saw no way I could thrive. According to him, the best option for me was an institution. I can only imagine what my life would be like if my parents accepted his advice at face value. Our aid came from prayer, special interventions, and searches for supportive schools, which ultimately led me to the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in kindergarten, where I began rapid development, and Achievement First, which I have been with since first grade.
One of the challenges in dealing with autism was that cartoonish realities were dominant in my mind- these showed up in the drawings I did on my free time rather than interacting with my classmates. In high school, I became keenly aware that racism and injustices against people of color had become more pronounced with each passing year. With the many incidents of police brutality and murder of innocent black men, women and children, I was constantly reminded of the world’s cruelties. The evidence was everywhere, but my autism made them excuses to prefer fantasy over our grim reality.
Slowly realizing what I liked and didn’t like about the world, I drew comics that showed a much kinder world and learned more about making characters and concepts. Academically, I dedicated more than enough time to my school work to ensure that I was achieving at a level that allowed me earn precollege programs and take AP courses. My parents went against the psychologist's opinion, so I was going to do all I can to prove them right and him wrong.
These days, I thank my autism for the creativity it sparked, and with my writing and drawing, I am able to create harmonious worlds in which life is just a little better for all. My experience makes me a living example that what most consider a setback just may be an incredible advantage. The proof will be this summer as I begin my college career at Syracuse University/Class of 2021"
Tyler's desire is to produce his own animated films with concepts that create harmony and peace. He also wants be a game designer.