RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) April is Autism Awareness month. A Radford University student is just one of the millions of people in the U.S. who make up the autism puzzle. And he's using his story to raise awareness.
“I didn't think I was different than anyone else, but I did notice some things that were different about me,” said Guy Smith.
When Smith was 10 years old, his parents explained to him that he has autism.
“I had a hard time with tests, understanding people, sometimes I would talk to myself out loud sometimes,” Smith explained.
Smith has a high functioning form of autism that used to be called Asperger's Syndrome, but now it's part of a broader category called Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“It gave me a big change in my life,” Smith said.
A change many would see as an obstacle, Smith is using his story as an opportunity to make a difference with a program he's putting on at Radford University called "The Piece of the Puzzle." It's to help raise awareness and create a better understanding about the disorder.
“Help people to know that people with autism may be a little different, but they're also human beings and they're also people and they deserve good things,” said Smith.
Good things are ahead for Smith.
“I love art. Art is like my biggest passion in my life,” he said.
Smith is a sophomore pursuing his degree in graphic design.
“College is a lot of fun but a whole lot of work,” said Smith. I felt I was the only one who stresses out on school, but I'm not the only one turns out! I just focus on my work, I focus on school, getting my grades, doing my best to get a degree to graduate, and just want to keep myself focused.
Smith's program, "The Piece of the Puzzle", is Tuesday, April 18, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in the Bonnie Auditorium at Radford University. It's free and open to the public. You'll see video of a documentary, Smith will tell his story, and you'll learn about resources that are available.