My name is Ava and I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when I was three years old. PDD-NOS means ‘Pervasive Developmental Delay – Not Otherwise Specified’. In easier-to-understand words for my parents, it meant I would have delays in my communication and social skills. So it explained why as a baby I didn’t really respond to my name, I didn’t really play at playdates and at storytime I was the one kid that ran the perimeter of the multi-purpose room, while every other kid could sit through the readings. Just to give you an idea.
My parents thought that there was something going on with me as a baby but they weren’t sure. My sister Mia who is almost two years older, was a really early talker. I was the opposite. I crawled and walked early but I couldn’t really put many words together. My mom remembers sort of a breakthrough when I started singing along to ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ at two and a half. Every baby develops at their own pace, but they were still worried. By the time I turned three, they decided to get things really looked at. They talked to our pediatrician and brought me to numerous evaluations and tests. They also reached out to their friends and coworkers for advice on where to turn.
That was how I met Matt. That was when we got to “work.” I don’t remember when I exactly met Matt, but what I do know is that he would come over and we worked on things like sitting still, taking turns, playing games and telling jokes. I didn’t really know what to think of him. He was my big playmate. Outside though, he helped me behave at my dentist appointments and he brought me church to teach me how to sit still during mass. As I grew up, I kept on getting help from different teachers. Even when I was in middle school, I still received help from various tutors. With my condition, I had trouble interacting with other kids my age. I never knew how to talk to anyone and I was always made fun of because of my personality.
When I transferred in 4th grade to the Catholic school Mia went to, it was hard at first. The subjects were difficult for me to get through and it was hard talking to other students. Eventually I met other girls that I began to click with and they became my closest friends. They were a good influence on me because I began to grow out of my shy exterior and I could be myself. They got me interested into new things I never even considered, like anime, Broadway musicals and rock music. With the help of my new school and new tutors, I didn’t realize that I was slowly progressing out my condition. As of now, I’m considered to be high-functioning on the autism spectrum, which means that no one could tell that I’m autistic.
Right now, I’m currently a junior who goes to a private Catholic high school.
My favorite subjects currently are Algebra, Choir, and English.
My favorite music types are alternative rock and punk.
My favorite things to do are watch anime, baking, listen to music, and hang with friends.
In high school I’ve met new people who I just so happened to have a lot in common with. I met a few of them in the start of my freshman year and even last year. Ever since, we’ve never stopped sitting with each other at break and lunch. It’s good to sit with people at lunch, to have someone to talk to during the day and to give you moral support.
I heard that being a junior will be the hardest year in high school. My parents want me to start studying for the SATs and ACTs. Once I get those over with, it’ll probably be a regular school year throughout. I’m thinking of starting my own anime club. I’m excited for softball in the spring. I want to be more involved at school in my own way. I took a class this summer so that I could fit choir into my schedule. Hopefully I’ll be able to sing at school masses. All in all, high school has been a really fun experience. As far as sitting still in class and going to church, well it’s still not easy but I can get through and fit in just like everyone else.