Lives with: Autism
Referred by: The Arc of North Carolina
Hobbies: Soap making
When most of us think about a relaxing day at the beach, we think about reclining in a lounge chair or leisurely floating in the waves, not 18-year-old Hannah. When Hannah thinks about a calming experience at the beach, she thinks of surfing across the top of the biggest waves she can find. Having lived with Autism her whole life and relied on the balance of steady routines, habits, and plans, Hannah dreams of visiting “a place I can surf all day and learn how to kneel and stand on a surfboard.”
Autism has had a dramatic impact on Hannah’s life. It is often difficult for her to do the things she enjoys or create friendships because her unusual habits of flapping or talking to herself make it hard for other people, who don’t understand Autism, to relate to her. When Hannah finds activities that she enjoys, like collecting alphabet beads, trains, or characters from movies, or typing up her class newsletter, everyone knows because of the huge smile on her face and the fact that she wants to do them over and over again.
Hannah’s mother, father, and older brother, Andy (who also lives with Autism), are amazingly supportive of Hannah. They understand that Hannah can participate in the same activities as her peers if they plan and prepare Hannah ahead of time. Hannah faces each day with courage and determination. We look forward to helping Hannah find the perfect wave to shred. Hang 10, Hannah!