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Amanda Patterson

What have you discovered about yourself through your journey with autism?

What I have learned about myself as it relates to my autism, is that I tend to be reserved until I get to the point where I am overwhelmed enough but have learned to ask for help. For instance, in the workplace, I am working on improving my response to change. Recently, my manager, Magda, who I was close with at my job transferred to a different campus in Phoenix, and watching their replacement move into their office was hard for me. I emailed my supervisor to let her know as well as our onsite support staff, who were able to help me work through this change.

As a member of SARRC’s SAAB, what initiative or personal goal is most important to you?

I’m in my second year as a member of the SAAB. I’m honored to be a founding member and joined in 2021. In that time, I’ve had the chance to contribute to quarterly meetings to represent the SAAB on stage at SARRC’s YES Day for Autism event, and I was part of an autism training curriculum that will be shared with law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a video to promote “Vote the Spectrum,” to help people with autism and neurodiversities to register to vote and provide them with resources for voting. This initiative is important to me because people with autism should have the chance to vote and be represented in the electoral process.

How can others promote awareness and acceptance of autism throughout the year, beyond April?

I have experienced firsthand how beneficial it is to provide employment opportunities and support in the workplace for people with autism. I work at Peckham, and they recently hired two Vocational Services Specialists, Shawn and Ashley, who are a lot like job coaches and support people with autism and other needs in the workplace. They are both great! They helped me get used to the change that I was having a hard time with. Their support at work has been a wonderful change!

It would be wonderful to see more employers embrace more inclusivity in the workplace, and even put more support in place for those with autism and other neurodiversities.