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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Introducing Dmitri!

By Dmitri 

Hello readers, my name is Dmitri and I’m excited to be a potential new member of the #ASDNext writing team! To help you all to get to know me a little bit better, allow me some introduction. I am 19 years old, and a freshman at Drexel University studying physics. I use they/ them pronouns and I identify as a non-binary lesbian. I live right outside Philly with my dad, his girlfriend, my own partner, and three very cute animals (2 small dogs and a cat). I’m a commuter student so I’ve had to learn how to navigate the social chaos which is public transportation. I’m very excited to share my experiences with you all with some hopes that you can find some solace in my experiences navigating this wacky world as a young adult on the spectrum. 

I like to pride myself somewhat on my interest, as I’ve taken many different passing special interests over the years that I like to think have given me a good tool belt to sort through life with. In middle school and early high school, I wanted to go to art college, and while art still holds an important place in my life for more abstract expression, the subjective nature of the field ended up turning me off of that path. I still like to make digital paintings on my iPad a lot, and from time to time I try and take up new little forms of craft to occupy my hands. I’m currently trying to learn how to crochet, and while one of my more recent attempts at making a single stitch square somehow ended up being a single stitch triangle, I try to never get too discouraged while learning. 

In the past, I’ve also taken interest in a slew of humanities topics including but not limited to; writing, media analysis, philosophy, and comparative theology. My current interests include physics and mathematics. While physics has been a long term interest of mine, I only got into mathematics about three years ago. This aligned with the time that I decided that I wanted to pursue physics in college, as a love or at least appreciation for math is somewhat necessary for a major in physics. Within physics, I’m particularly interested in particle physics and interactions that occur at the atomic scale. So if you’d ever like to ask questions about black holes or supernovas, I also think they’re cool and all but I won’t be able to info-dump as much about them. 

My career interest align pretty well with my normal interests. I’d like to get through my undergraduate physics degree (hopefully with a double major in math as well), and then go on to the grad school – post-doc shuffle is common for people in my academic field. From there I’d like to work at a research institution both teaching and working on my own research. I prefer theoretical physics to experimental so I probably won’t end up on any of those research labs deep underground or super isolated in Antarctica. I’ve seen the movie ‘The Thing’ and so I think I can say pretty confidently what goes down at those research labs. Jokes aside, I am pretty excited about how research looks on the theoretical side as well, working with others to achieve levels of thinking otherwise quite difficult to achieve on one’s own. While I was once quite averse to collaborative work, I’ve found that being in a supportive environment with everyone working towards a common goal can be quite rewarding. 

I’m proud of myself for the accomplishments I’ve made in a lot of corners of my life. I’m proud that I’ve cultivated a curious nature within myself, regardless of the subject. When I ask the big questions about a topic, little will stop me from exploring it as in-depth as I can. In the latter half of high school, I took a particular interest in the study of optical physics, this self-lead research ultimately culminated in a school project where I wrote a real deal scientific paper giving a demonstration of Malus’ law with some very rudimentary tools. I am also proud of my community involvement, in high school, I was a pretty active member of a local LGBT organization within their youth group. And for two years in a row being the graphic designer for fundraiser buttons sold during pride month (June). It’s pretty cool being able to see your work on the tee shirts or lanyards of a majority of the LGBT people or allies in your community. But most of all I’m proud of myself for how much I’ve learned how to love and accept myself regardless of the ‘set-backs’ society has told me I have. 

If I could let everyone know one thing about autism, it’s that it’s not something to be looked at as an oddity or that it’s some sort of inherent handicap. It took me so long to come to terms with my own place on the spectrum because a lot of the information presented to me on autism was heavily misinformed. I didn’t see myself as someone needing the level of care I thought was needed for people living with autism. Now I see that 1. I honestly do need help that the ‘average’ neuro-typical person would not need and 2. That’s not a bad thing in the slightest. People in the whole spectrum of neurodiversity are capable of amazing things, and their symptoms are not a hindrance to their accomplishments, but a support.

With love my readers and hope I can connect with you again, ~Dmitri