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  • Writer's pictureJeannie Tribe

Faces of Autism Callie

April has traditionally been Autism Awareness month, but we are trying to do more than become aware, we are driven to accept! I have been planning this campaign for months and have had the absolute PRIVILEGE of photographing some of the most AMAZING people! Throughout the month of April we will be featuring them and their stories. I pray that you find love for these INCREDIBLE humans and their passions!

Hi, I’m Callie. I’m a 15-year-old 9th grader who was diagnosed with Austim 1 year ago.

I love animals (especially horses), swimming, being outside, talking to my friends and overall staying busy.

I am annoyed with people who are mean to others, and HATE being bored. Smalltalk also annoys me. There is no point in wasting time not talking about the thing you wanted to talk about. Just get to the point, I don’t have all day!

Here’s what Autism looks like for me.

At school, when a teacher explains something, I quickly understand the first time. It annoys me when they keep talking to explain in a different way for others. I get bored then anxious, and I just want to get to the assignment.

I’m a big list maker and like to check things off my list. I prefer to work by myself so I can do it at my own (fast) pace while listening to pop or country music which helps me to focus. I have high standards for myself.

If I work in groups, I like being the leader. I’ve worked REALLY hard this year to pay attention to what others are good at and play to everyone’s strengths to make them feel special, feel good about themselves and accepted.

I have many ideas swirling around in my head. Sometimes they are very random and sometimes they are brilliant. I like to be very independent which my parents say it can be a challenge. I want to find my own way of doing things that make sense to me and treated like a “normal” kid.

In the future I am interested in something in the medical field, possibly with animals.

Here’s what Mom and Dad say.

Callie was a natural leader with STRONG opinions even as a 2-year-old. She could not be convinced if it wasn’t something she was interested in. In daycare/preschool I would call her the “Activities Director” as kids would flock to her and look to her for direction of what to play and how to play.

As she got older and peers developed their own ideas, things got hard and confusing for her. They no longer listened to her thoughts and she became more and more isolated from others.

After years of mental health support, there were things that wouldn’t click or support her the way we expected. The Autism diagnosis helped us to understand that our quick-whitted, intelligent child truly did not understand social norms and she was not trying to be difficult.

It’s been a journey with being Callie’s parents but she has already taught us so much. We are so proud of the young woman she has become and look forward to the big things she has in store.

Remember her name everyone, she is going places!


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