#CelebrateDifferences with Chloe Rothschild
What do you do in your role on the PSA (Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism)?
I help provide insight that can then be brought to the Autism Society and the Board of Directors for suggestions and feedback to help support the autism community. It’s important that an organization that serves individuals and families living with autism hear from the varied perspectives of all those on the spectrum. I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my voice and provide my unique experience. More importantly, to have the Society care so deeply to make sure that I’m heard is empowering.
When did you first learn about the Autism Society? How did you first become involved with our organization?
I first learned about my local Autism Society chapter in 2010. I volunteered a few hours a week at my local Autism Society chapter helping with office tasks while I was in high school as a vocational experience. My first time attending the National Autism Society conference was in 2013. I had friends that served on PSA, and it was in driving distance to where I live and I wanted to learn what it was all about. It gave me the opportunity to build a network, share my experiences, and contribute to the conversation about the latest challenges and wins for the autism community.
Are you currently employed? If yes, please briefly describe your experience with your job.
Yes, I work 3 days a week as a teacher’s aide at a school for students with autism. I help teach them and help them learn and so much more. I also am a self advocate who is passionate about teaching others about autism from my perspective through speaking etc.
How long have you been employed at your current job? What type of responsibilities are you assigned to take care of in your role?
I have been employed in my current job since May 2018 a few hours two days a week with a job coach, I’ll have more hours and work independently by the end of August 2018. I help teach the children, help with reading, math, lunch time, playing with them, and more; whatever is needed.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Everything; but knowing that I am helping positively impact the lives of children with Autism. I like to say that I’m working my dream job!
How is the Autism Society different (from other organizations)? Can you share a specific story or a specific example of when the Autism Society (national or affiliate) has helped you and/or your family?
I have learned so much at the Autism Society National conferences over the years. The local and national autism society are both great resources.
How do you personally believe that you “see things differently” from others?
I just see and feel a somewhat different perspective I guess, but it is the only one I know to me, so it’s not really “different” for me I guess…If that makes sense.
Our theme for this year’s National Autism Awareness Month is “#CelebrateDifferences”. How do you personally celebrate the differences and unique qualities that make you who you are?
I am proud of my differences. I use my autism and experiences as opportunities to help teach others through writing and speaking.
Why (in your opinion) do you think it can be difficult for many of us (autistic or not) to accept ourselves for being different?
There is so much judgement in the world. Sometimes we, people in general compare ourselves to others instead of just being proud of who we are for us and realizing that we truly are amazing!
What can you do to support a friend or loved one to build their own confidence and let them know it is OKAY to be different?
Help them, reassure them. Introduce them to other individuals who have Autism. Provide them with resources and supports. Mentors and friends who know what it is like and don’t judge can change everything in opinion.
What message do you want to share with those individuals on the autism spectrum who is currently struggling with self-acceptance and struggling to love themselves for who they are?
You are amazing! Celebrate every single accomplishment, be proud because there is no such thing as something too small to celebrate. There may be hard or tough moments, but nothing lasts forever and with a little support, a supportive team it will be alright. Try and find your village of positive people who can help you and love you for being you.
What are your favorite activities to do during your spare time?
I enjoy painting, watching Youtube videos, participating in a dog agility training program for individuals with autism and an adaptive ice skating program just to name a few things.