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Life in the ASD has never been easy. At an early age I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. People look at you different when you are part of the ASD community. Growing up I was picked on at school all the time, being made fun of behind everyone’s back. During the summer time I was able to find my escape. I have lived in Cincinnati my whole life so during the summer time I would frequent King’s Island since it is my home park. It became my escape, a place where I could feel free and have fun without being judged.
I used to be afraid of roller coasters at one time until my Dad convinced me to ride what would be my first big coaster credit, The Beast. Little did I know that the legendary Beast would turn me into an enthusiast. Roller coasters were a way for me to forget the stresses of life and temporarily feel free. Overcoming my fears of roller coasters helped me grow as a person. Despite being shy by nature, riding roller coasters has made it easier to socialize with others and make new friends. Theme parks helped me reach big and grow in life.
Sadly in 2005 my Dad passed from a brain tumor and one of the most painful experiences I could have ever imagined. Going to King’s Island helped me keep his memory alive. It helped me keep his spirit alive by keeping his memory alive. Theme parks are so much more than just a business, for me it is a time vault where I can hold old memories and make new ones.
I have never let being born with Asperger’s Syndrome dictate who I am. Theme parks helped me overcome my fear of driving. I have become more social and make new friends whom accept me for who I am. For those who know me, I tell things the way it is. Riding roller coasters helps me destress from the hardships of the work I do.
Being a Patron on the Discord server has helped me form bonds with fellow coaster enthusiasts who accept me for who I am. Being a part of this community has helped me realize that being different is ok. The Coaster-Net community is a part of my life and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
I challenge the industry to step up to the plate and grow their ASD awareness. Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania has become a Certified Autism Center as has Sesame Place near Philadelphia. Dorney Park in Allentown, PA has an Autism Ambassador and a sensory room in the Health Clinic. Great Adventure has had their second successful Autism Day where sensory stressors and distractions were minimized. More and more parks are accommodating families with loved ones who have ASD, and this trend lifts my heart. People on the spectrum love amusement parks and the industry needs to do their part to ensure we come and enjoy ourselves.
It is my hope to reach out to those in the ASD community and let you know you are not alone. God created you for a reason and embrace who you are. Do not let others dictate your life and you can be whoever you want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back for you can accomplish anything you want. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.