The Center for Students with Disabilities works with many different students at UW Whitewater throughout the year. One such student is Noah Thomas. Noah Thomas is a first-year transfer student majoring in geography. He has a slightly different view of his disability than people usually see. It is always good to see different points of view or perspectives from students with disabilities.
Thomas says, “My disability is autism and I was diagnosed when I was very young, eighteen months old which is very unusual for people in my situation of this spectrum. Usually, they are diagnosed later in life.”
“It affects my ability to socialize. It’s hard for me to get on social waiting lists. It’s hard for me basically to follow social waiting lists and social norms.”
Noah was very willing to talk to him about everything that autism entails in person and on the ground. He had more to say about his outlook on life with autism, too.
“I will admit that I have a very negative view of autism compared to a lot of others. Some people have a positive view of it, some people have a negative view of it, and I mean this is something I would like to change in the future. I am sure that people who view it positively can say the thing The same thing that hurts them or prevents them from doing certain things,” says Thomas.
When asked more specifically what his disability prevents him from doing, Thomas said, “I am very sensitive to loud noises. So, it would be difficult for me to go to parties or concerts which is something a lot of people like to do, but I don’t really know what If only I would enjoy it because of all the noise and overload that comes with it.”
Noah also talks about his average academic performance. He’s not doing as well as he thought, but he thinks it’s because he’s a first-year student and isn’t used to life on campus yet.
Thomas says, “Unfortunately, I don’t get involved in many extracurricular activities. It’s just because of my anxiety. I tried some extracurricular activities at the beginning of school, but just got involved in school work. I tried them and it didn’t really work for me.”
It’s totally understandable to come into the year with high hopes and then have to slow down. It’s hard for any student to adapt, let alone try to get involved when anxiety gets in their way. Although Noah has been struggling a bit, CSD helps in a few different ways.
Thomas says, “I have been meeting on a weekly basis with my Disability Services Coordinator. She is really nice and very helpful. We talk about what is going on in the week and how she can help me. Another thing I really like about CSD is that I can do the tests there. So, I can have space Quiet for my exams. It’s really cool and I don’t have any distractions in the classroom to worry about.”
Now, Thomas has some advice to give to others with autism.
“I really want to say just to express themselves. I feel like that’s a good thing, just express yourself and don’t listen to people who tell you otherwise. If you express yourself you’re at your happiest,” said Thomas.
It’s great advice for other CSD students and any student in general who might be having difficulties with life or certain personal things.
In the end, Noah Thomas is just one of the many students CSD helps. They provide a lot of resources, some of which are mentioned by Noah, for students to use. Noah Thomas will continue to strive to do well in his academy and adjust to life on campus.