Voices of the Spectrum: Conversations with TAP's Autistic Adults #1
This is my first interview in a series where I speak with autistic individuals within the TAP community! My questions will appear in bold, and Patrick’s responses will follow in the regular format.
Can you introduce yourself and share what your interests are?
My name is Patrick Quinn; I am 28 years old, and I have a lot of interests that I am thinking of.
What are the interests of which you are thinking?
Well, I am a treasure collector. I enjoy watching good things on TV, playing video games, and computer games, reading books, listening to music, and exploring magical places.
What are some of your favorite books?
I like Dr. Seuss and Disney books. Once, I got a cool live-action Cat in the Hat movie storybook at Universal. I have been to Disney three times, but it has been a while since I visited Universal…. Once in Florida, we went to see a space shuttle launch! It was so cool, and sometimes I have crazy dreams about going into outer space in a rocket ship.
I want to go to space camp! I receive emails from the US Space Academy sometimes, and I have always wanted to try it. It looks like a lot of fun; it looks like a blast! But one thing I tell people is that I have not been on a plane in a while because life gets busy, and you do not always know how to spend your time.
Do you remember how old you were when you first started coming to The Autism Project with your mom?
When my mom used to work in Cranston, I was eight, and I started going there with her. It can be a little terrifying to try something new, but that is okay.
Do you remember a time when you learned something at The Autism Project and brought that specific skill home with you, whether it was when you first started at 8 or now at 28?
Patience is a good one. For instance, waiting during long car rides can be a bit hard.
What is your favorite thing to participate in at The Autism Project?
Oh, I love the Imagine Walk. I enjoy being together with all those people and all the tasty food. I also like participating in the actual walk. You can expect some nice surprises, like seeing people from the office you recognize. But I will say you should give your legs a good stretch before the walk so you do not get sore.
I also enjoy Master Gardener. We did good work when we started, and I heard that this summer we will have easier tasks to do.
I also like to play the guitar. Sometimes it is fun to have people sing along, and I will sing at camp near the bonfire. But I know now that I am getting older, I might want to try new things at camp, like helping people out, being a nice volunteer, and being a mentor for someone.
What are some achievements that you are proud of?
Passing my driver’s test over the summer! I was a little nervous, but last fall I tried it, and it did not go too well. Sometimes things do not work out the first time. I was glad that I succeeded at it, and we are going to work on transitions, towns, and going on highways one day.
I talk about the six pillars of character a lot: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
Can you describe the six pillars of character to me?
Trustworthiness means telling the truth and keeping your promises.
There are good ways to show respect to others, like respecting boundaries.
Responsibility is when you complete a task at your job to show you are responsible.
Fairness means playing nicely, taking turns, and not cheating.
Caring is like being with family and doing good things with them. It shows that you care about them.
Citizenship means making your community a better place to live. It is good to do your part, obey the law, and not litter.
When did you begin living alone?
About 4 or 5 years ago. It was nice; one of my mentors met me inside and showed me all the rooms. I like having all the big rooms like the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom. In the kitchen, I cook pasta, pizza, pancakes, and burgers.
Can you tell me about your job?
I work at Trinity Rep in Providence. I am taking out trash and cleaning up these days. I spray and wipe the tables. I like the nice people there.
Can you tell me about the goals you have for the future?
In the future I would like to help kids or be a mentor for someone. I thought this summer at camp I would be a nice volunteer and help kids out with their artwork or help them in whatever special activity we do.
When I get to my thirties, I would like to help at schools like East Greenwich. It might be a nice way to help people and encourage them while they are in gym class.
What are things about autism that you wish people would understand?
I wish people can understanding how hard things can be for us. Even though I have autism, it does not mean I am different from anyone else.
What is your favorite thing about coming to The Autism Project?
The nice people, like my mom and Ariana.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn about Patrick. I am eager to witness the continued success and positive influence Patrick will undoubtedly bring to The Autism Project and beyond.
Marketing & Communication Officer