My name is Kenny and I am Autistic.
Autism is not something that I have but what I am, but being autistic is not who I am. Being autistic can be a gift but it also has its dark sides. I experience everything either more intensely than most people or not at all which can make it hard to navigate the normal world. **Things like sounds, light, taste, smell, and emotions that most people’s brains can filter and block out my brain cannot, which can overwhelm me!
When and how did you discover your love and passion for art?
I discovered my ability and love for art during the beginning of quarantine. It was something I had no experience in at all but chose to do as an expression of myself on canvas. Being able to let others see what I experience in my brain became exciting for me and a challenge which became an art business.
What is some advice you would give to those who want to be advocates for people living with autism?
I think becoming an advocate for anyone who is autistic or different in any way can help that person find their place in this world. Each autistic person has a gift in this world whether it be to figure out the most complex math problems, become an amazing artist, or to just put a smile on one person’s face. But to encourage, include, and be proud of the autistic person’s ability no matter what it is is the best way to advocate for that person.
What is life like for you on a daily basis?
I live my life like most everyone else except my brain is always thinking ahead to every situation. It has to be planned out and any changes can be extremely hard or impossible to deal with. I have to always have my AirPods or headphones when in loud places and I can’t leave home without sunglasses. I like to know who is going to be there at the place we are going and if there are too many people or will be too loud, I will not go. It’s not hard for me to make friends but to keep them as I don’t understand how to deal with other’s emotions. If someone is in a bad mood I can feel their mood more intensely than they do. But I also like to have fun and be silly. I like to go bowling, fishing, and helping and advocating for anyone struggling with anything is my true passion.
What does it mean to “come as you are?”
“COME AS YOU ARE” ….I believe that trying to be something you’re not is where a lot of true mental health issues come from. It’s not the bipolar, autistic, weird, gay or anything else that’s a problem, it’s the worlds rejection of these people. We are all “Only Human”..I believe being all inclusive is so important and that is why I advocate for everyone. “Unconditional love is love without ANY conditions” is what I love to say…
Is it common for you to feel misunderstood? What’s that like for you?
It is very common for me to feel misunderstood. People think I’m being rude when I am usually trying to just be informational or don’t know how to relate to them. See, most autistic people do not converse through intuition but rather through intellect, meaning I can usually only share about things that I know a lot about, which is why we can be seen as lacking empathy because we don’t know how to react to things we know nothing about. This can make being social harder for us and make people not want to be around us.
What does it mean to be “only human?”
“Only Human” is such a great expression of the way I wish the world would be. If there were no divides and no differences and we could all “Just Be” then there would be “Only Human” left to live the world together in.
What schooling did you just complete and graduate from?
I just completed my associates degree in HVAC from TSTC in Waco,TX. This means that I can work as a commercial Air Conditioning Technician for the company I already work for. Only 38% of autistic-students graduate college which is why Disability Services and Accommodations are so important to have in places for us whether we use them or not. In my case I used all of them and would not have been able to finish without them.