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Our mission is to provide autistic individuals with a space to moderate discussions, share, and write about the autistic community.

Voices of the Spectrum: Conversations with TAP's Autistic Adults #4

This is my third interview in a series where I speak with autistic individuals within the TAP Community! My questions will appear in bold, and Ondrea’s responses will follow in the regular format.

Tell me about yourself and some of your interests?

My name is Ondrea Robinson. I am 43 years old, and I grew up in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

One of my special interests includes languages. I speak several languages like Spanish, some French, Portuguese, a bit of Italian, and I’m learning Japanese. I try my best to help others with translation if they need it.

I also love Bath & Body Works. I like Cabbage Patch Kids, and Eeyore. I like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh because I can relate to him. He is very loving, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. I also like Winnie the Pooh because he is very kind, Tigger is rambunctious, and Piglet is calm.

When did you first learn about The Autism Project?

I actually learned about The Autism Project after attending The Imagine Walk one year. I went to the walk in 2008 and after that, I volunteered at The Autism Project for a few months, just doing office work and stuff like that.

Could you share some accomplishments that you are proud of?

I am very proud of the poetry I write. Writing poetry is very therapeutic. I have had poetry published in books here and there, and I actually got an honorable mention in a poetry contest.

I am also proud to be a Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor, and I am almost 8 years in remission. It was a hard period of my life, but I chose to think positively, and I got through it.

Are there any particular experiences or skills you've acquired that you feel have been especially beneficial in your daily life?

Once in a while, I write a list, or I make a schedule when I have a lot of things to do. Sometimes, it can get a little crazy when you have a lot happening all at once, and I don’t want to forget anything, so schedules help me.

What kind of work do you do?

I worked at an agency for people with developmental disabilities, I worked in the CCRI library, and I also worked in the CVS offices.

I love reading, so working in the library was great. One of my favorite book series is the Babysitters Club, and they actually created a show on Netflix for it!

What is it that you wish people understood more about Autism?

You cannot see Autism because it is invisible. Autism is not a disease; it is a universal thing and differs for everyone who has it. Autism is a puzzle piece, and I understand that some people use the infinity sign, but everyone is entitled to their own option.

Could you elaborate on how Autism feels for you personally?

In some ways, I feel having Autism is great because I am different from everyone else. I get to use my special interest, express myself and educate other people about Autism.

Sometimes I feel like Autism is challenging because some people might think I’m rude. It just takes a lot of acceptance and understanding.

Being an advocate for the autism community, does it make you feel empowered?

Yes, it makes me feel empowered because I get to explain my experiences to other people. There are so many people that have children with autism like one of my close friends, Shannon. She has coffee with me, and we regularly talk about autism because she gets it, and we educate one another.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Well, I know that we have a long way to go with Autism. There are some people that aren’t aware and there are some who don’t accept. I am still learning about it on a daily basis, so I can shine light on it for other people.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn about Ondrea. She is truly remarkable, and her journey with The Autism Project is both inspiring and invaluable. Stay tuned for a glimpse into her world through her poetry, coming your way soon!

Gianna Cambria

Marketing & Communications Officer