Sean Sullivan: In His Own Words . . .
Thirty-year-old Sean Sullivan of SoCal is on a mission to help others like himself enjoy the same educational benefits as their neurotypical counterparts. Here’s what he wants people to know . . .
Hi my name is Sean Sullivan,
I have Autism, and I am very proud of this fact! I think of my Autism as a gift and super power! Because I have Autism I know what it feels like to be rewarded for hard work much more than average and normal people! My Autism has helped me understand others feelings. For example since I have a disability I know what the pain of being bullied is, for the most part people who have disabilities are treated by others like freaks, and for immature, belligerent, and oppressive reasons such as feeling superior, and entertainment. What kind of disability you have will likely determine what people say to you, and what actions people take towards you, for example people who wear glasses are sometimes called 4 eyes.Try to think how you would feel if you had Autism? Try to think how you would feel if you were blind and or deaf? What would your behavior be like? Would you do attention seeking behaviors such as repeating certain words/ phrases over and over again? Would you destroy property? Would you yell kick and punch others? Would you hate the world? Or would you do all of the above?
“If there is no way for me to get to the top of the mountain then I will make a way, if there is no solution to a problem I face then I will make a solution . . .”
Quite often it is only when we lose something or someone important to us that we stop and realize that we actually cared about that book or our ability to problem solve! When you actually experience something first hand in your life you have a better chance of relating to other people who have also experienced the same thing if you are willing to and more importantly if you are allowed and have a chance to! Unfortunately today’s society makes it very hard for people to share their experiences, and give advice to others, the two main causes for this that I have came up with after doing a lot of research are,
1. For the most part people instinctively do not want to listen to other people because they think that they have all the answers, the reason for this is because of pride.
2. The second reason is most jobs that allow you to convey ideas to others require a whole of training and a whole lot of education.
Since we are on the subject of education, the college and higher education system in the U.S.A Has a 1 size fits all. Often people with disabilities are the ones who need extra help and often that extra help comes in the form of specialty teachers and therapists. The sad part of it all is that even though there is some help for individuals with disabilities at younger ages, when they reach the age for higher education they fall through the holes and cracks of the spider’s web. Let me go into more detail? Based on my experiences with grade school and higher learning their differences and expectations are worlds apart, which is a very bad thing for anyone with any kind of cognitive, learning, and or developmental disability. What that means is let’s start by explaining the differences that I believe they have. The first difference they have are, grade school is free, the books are free, and so is transportation, which is especially helpful for when I was in grade school because as of right now I have always received the bare minimum which is housing and all other bills payed for by the government, college is certainly not free in any sense of the word, and though community college has minimal to zero tuition, registration, and entrance fees, they do charge a lot for books, and they do not have free transportation. The campus size of grade schools no matter what grade is much smaller than even the smallest community college, for people for me when I was younger trying college out was very daunting not to mention overwhelming, navigating schools when I was younger was much easier than navigating community colleges. When I say they each have different expectations which is a bad thing what I mean is, on one hand you have K through 12 which has no grade point average requirements at all, however both community and 4 year colleges require a super high g.p.a. which makes it even harder for someone like me. I have a feeling that the way college and beyond works in America is going to be all of our downfall eventually! It won’t just affect the people with no power it will also affect business people and absolutely everyone will be affected! I say that because people with disabilities are growing at a extraordinary rate and because of this it won’t take much longer for the people without disabilities to be outnumbered by people with disabilities, when that happens who else will be able to go to college with the standards that education officials have.
However in no way am I saying I will give up far from it! I just will adapt and make my own path, if there is no way for me to get to the top of the mountain than I will make a way, if there is no solution to a problem I face than I will make a solution, and most importantly of all above all else my disability, my self doubt, and all my other negative feelings and emotions can either be alive or not alive, strong or weak, what decides this is me, my inner strength, and my will power.
So what do I want to gain from writing this? What’s in it for me? My hope is by writing and submitting this to many people and organizations that it will help others see the world in the perspective of people with disabilities, my hope is by writing this and having others read it that it will help raise awareness that people with disabilities are also intelligent we just have a different way of showing and expressing our intelligence! My goals are to get my name out there to get a job I enjoy which is helping people with disabilities and public speaking!