When some parents hear an autism diagnosis for their child, they may automatically think the worst. All of their hopes and dreams for their child's future may crumble right before their eyes. However, what parents should keep in mind is that even though a child may have autism, it doesn't mean that he or she can't be successful in life. Every person achieves success in his or her way, as in the case of Megan Smetona.
The Success Story of Megan Smetona
LoveToKnow had the special opportunity to interview Megan Smetona, who is an adult living with autism successfully.
LoveToKnow (LTK): Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your life with autism.
Megan Smetona (MS): I have Asperger's syndrome. I live with my family, who cares and loves me. I have good friends. I have good pet rabbits. I am 24 years old. I tend to talk a lot.
LTK: You recently graduated from the Bancroft program, which helps people facing developmental challenges. Congratulations! What were some of the struggles you encountered while going through the program? And how did you overcome these struggles?
MS: Multiplication and division were hard for me. But my teachers taught me how to use the calculator. My teachers taught me organization and how to budget. That was hard for me.
LTK: As a CVS associate, what types of challenges do you have and how do you overcome them?
MS: I take out cardboard boxes, dust shelves, clean the stockroom, wash windows and the restroom. It is a lot of hard work. My job coach at Bancroft, Regina Lannon, helped me. My managers and my co-worker Jackie help me when I need it. I just do my job.
Megan's Plans for the Future
LTK: I read that you are an artist as well. What do you do, and why do you do it?
MS: I started drawing when I was three years old. Then, I started sketching out scenes from movies. I like to draw animals. Right now, I am learning to use oil paints. I've done some still life paintings and flower paintings. I do art because it's my thing.
LTK: What do you want out of life? What are your future plans?
MS: I would like to write a novel. I would like to have an apartment with my friends.
Support of Family and Friends
LTK: How influential were your parents in your accomplishments? How did they support you?
MS: My parents drive me where I need to go. They keep me safe. They taught me about stranger danger. They help me out. They love me, too. They are thoughtful.
LTK: What would you like to tell people who want to support someone in their lives with autism?
MS: I would tell people to be patient, to be caring and understanding. They should be honest and always be appropriate.
LTK: What is your advice to adults with autism?
MS: I would tell them to be neat and organized, and to help family. I would tell them to keep good friends and use perseverance.
Helping Someone Succeed with Autism
Support is the number one way to help someone with autism. Love, compassion and assistance are all ways you can support someone. Services such as Early Intervention Programs and Bancroft are designed to help individuals with autism develop skills to succeed in life. With optimism and encouragement, your child can do whatever she wants to do, just like Megan Smetona.