Many people today view individuals with disabilities as different people based upon their appearances and behaviors. To me and other individuals with and without disabilities, these kinds of viewpoints are very derogative. I say this myself because people have doubted me and my own abilities.

I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and I will never let either of them stop me from doing anything. To people who don’t know me well, I look just like any other person out there, a bright and talented young man. When people learn about my Asperger’s, they are shocked because I don’t look like I have a disability at all. To be compared to other individuals with disabilities is just insensitive since I am able to relate to their struggles in life.

The struggles we face in life are challenging, but we do not see ourselves being limited by our disabilities. Instead, we have different abilities that play important roles within our communities and work environments. Though people doubt our abilities, we often prove them wrong about our capabilities. In my case, I am able to do various tasks that my co-workers in Project UNIFY sometimes struggle with and accomplish them in a timely manner. My co-workers and I work like a well-oiled machine because we all bring different abilities to the table to accomplish various assignments.

There are some people who still doubt about my abilities. However, I take those negative thoughts and turn them into motivation and drive. I used my motivation during high school and at George Mason University. I ended up graduating with honors from high school and with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Integrative Studies from George Mason University. Accomplishing these feats have put down a lot of doubt from people and allowed me to make new friends. Theses feats have also given me the confidence to self-advocate and teach other individuals with disabilities that they can achieve anything when you put your mind to it. There is one person I have to thank for giving me strength. That person is Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

It was Eunice Kennedy Shriver who taught the world that everyone can learn from people with disabilities. She was an inspiration to many people including myself. I believe that if she had not founded Special Olympics, I wouldn’t be in the place that I am today. Because of Mrs. Shriver and other people in my life, I have learned that I have a different ability not a disability. That different ability of mine can make a difference wherever I will be in life. Right now, my different ability is helping Special Olympics Project UNIFY and today’s youth. I conclude that we all have different abilities and we should use them for what we are truly passionate for in life. We all can make a difference in the world, no matter how little or big the difference is.

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