In The Politics of Autism, I discuss depictions of ASD in popular culture. Autistic people continue to smash stereotypes.
Growing up with autism, Rachel Barcellona was told to limit her expectations.
"I was basically promised that I would never graduate any school really or have any friends," she told CNN affiliate WFLA. "Pretty much everything bad was going to happen to me because I have autism."
Later this month, Barcellona, 22, will make history as the first contestant with autism to take the stage of the Miss Florida pageant.
"I want to use my voice to inspire hope to others," Barcellona told CNN affiliate WFTS in April after being selected to speak at the United Nations for World Autism Day.
On the website of the Dyspraxia Foundation USA, Barcellona wrote that she has Asperger's syndrome, loves to sing opera and hopes one day to open a school for children with disabilities. She also described her struggles with epilepsy, the neurological disorder dyspraxia, and the learning disorder dyscalculia.
"The phrase, 'You don't look autistic,' I get that all the time," Barcellona told WFTS. "And I just want to say, 'What does autism look like to you?'"