Autism is Fearless By Neil Natividad Tierra Workforce Development Associate
My name is Neil Natividad. I’m 25 years old, and full of high expectations and confidence. I was born in 1995 and diagnosed with autism at the age of two years old. Living with autism is sometimes challenging because it made me feel different. Making friends was difficult because I didn’t know how to react to others. I was scared and felt socially overwhelmed. When I was younger, due to my social anxiety, I was bullied by others and mistreated because I was misunderstood. My thought process was different than others. I felt like it was a bit delayed. Over the years, I remained positive and learned basic skills to socialize. I learned techniques from family, relatives, friends, school, therapists, and Tierra!
It’s been amazing, the progress I’ve made over the years. I am able to talk to people, and now, I have a close group of friends. My friends are very supportive and caring. It makes me feel happy that I’m part of something. They give me great advice and we have a lot of fun hanging out and calling each other.
At the age of 17, as a Senior in High School, my life changed. My parents adopted Buddy, a Labrador Retriever. Buddy instantly became a part of our family, and we’ve had him for eight years now. He has been a big part of my life because he has helped me by calming me down when I am feeling a lot of anxiety. There are times that I feel sad, anxious, and overwhelmed, so I turn to Buddy for support.
My dog inspired me to create a logo that represents autism for me. The logo is called AIF (Autism Is Fearless) because just like Buddy, all of us, together, can help each other manage our autism with confidence, love, and support.
My dream is to one day have my own company and to help people with disabilities.
Together, we can show the world that we should never be afraid of autism, or any other disability. We can be fearless.