My name is Rudraaksh. I am 18 and I live in Gurgaon, India. I am a sports and fitness enthusiast and have diverse interests including swimming, karate, Hollywood movies & TV shows, Math & Computer Science. I am also a passionate advocate for autism acceptance and neurodiversity in schools, the workplace and society.
Some people think that the identity of autistic people is determined by the fact that they always speak in a monotone, avoid attention to themselves, are socially awkward, do not know right from wrong, usually say the wrong thing at the wrong time and constantly go on and on about the same topic. Some think that they are a genius with odd mannerisms or speech while other think they are prone to violent actions.
I am sorry to say that is not an accurate picture of an individual with autism. And how would I know about it? Because I am autistic. My characteristics do not tick all those boxes. I do have my pet obsessions which keep changing as I grow older. like Ben 10 and Transformers when I was in primary school, swimming in middle and high school and fitness activities more recently. But these things alone do not tell you who I am as a person.
Unfortunately, there is not much information out there from the perspective of an autistic individual. Everyone else speaks on behalf of autistic individuals, except for the individual themself. So people often stereotype based on what is shown in the media, or what they hear from others. One autistic individual is always different from another. But despite our differences, we do share the concerns of communicating who we are with others without autism. That is one of the reasons I am here, before you to tell that autism is not a disease. It is just another way of thinking and looking at the world.
Our brains are wired differently than most people's brains. Think of an android phone and an iPhone. If you try to run an android app on an iPhone, it just won't work as each communicates differently. Likewise, just because we view and react to the world differently than most people, does not mean we do not wish to interact and be a part of this society. We just need a bit of support to blend in.
I have had many negative experiences because of my social ineptitude and learning differences, including being bullied at school for most of my childhood. However, I have not allowed these experiences to impact me negatively and have used my inherent abilities to be successful in the face of adversity. I have realized that I can be happy, accomplished and autistic at the same time. By sharing my experiences and the knowledge I have gained along the way, I hope to mentor kids like me to help them have a smoother school experience. To change negative perceptions about learning differences and autism I had conceptualized and am in the process of executing a project called Nurturing Neurodiversity.