A Self-Advocate’s Perspective

Kyle Bryan is a speaker, an advocate, a friend, brother, son, uncle, team member at Autism Delaware and an adult with autism spectrum disorder. In these blog posts Kyle will share some of his experiences as a self advocate and the challenges — and support — he finds along the way.

Post #2: March 28, 2017

The Impact of POW&R

In my first post, I shared a little about myself and the challenges I face as an autistic individual. I also touched base on Autism Delaware and the difference it has made in my life. Now I want to go into more depth as to how Autism Delaware made that powerful impact in my life; helping me in my growth as an adult with ASD.  And where I would like to start is with their POW&R program.

I was introduced to the POW&R program back in 2009 through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Working with the program director and a number of direct service professionals, I was taught a variety of new skills to help me in the job environment. One area that they found I had a particular strength in was data entry. They introduced me to the FileMaker database, demonstrating and then having me enter contacts and donations on my own. At roughly about the same time I was placed with a number of businesses as a volunteer so staff could get a feel to what my other abilities were and how they could be directed.

In time, when the coaches felt confident that I could hold a position, I was given employment in a number of real office environments. My first job was at a tax accounting office, handling filings and mailings. A little over a year later I moved on to a different position at a doctor’s office, handling the scanning and filing of medical documents.  Later on after employment with the medical office, I joined Autism Delaware, taking on a broader range of responsibilities; responsibilities that looking back on I could not have handled on my own without the patience, strength, and support of the staff at POW&R. And I am forever thankful for all that they have done to help me reach where I am at now.

Who I Am

On behalf of Autism Delaware and myself, I want to extend a warm welcome to my blog. As a member of staff, I handle responsibilities in various light administrative duties. More recently, I’ve taken on the additional role of advocacy, speaking on behalf of families and loved ones affected by autism.

As an adult with autism, I can testify in first person terms to the challenges I have faced throughout my life and the numerous affects autism has had in my day to day living. It has affected

  • social skills: lacking the ability to read facial expressions and body language.
  • problem-solving skills.
  • motor control skill: difficulty judging distances and catching objects.
  • sensitivity to light and sound.
  • difficulties in handling stressful situations: often resulting in inappropriate outbursts.
  • being able to discern manipulation: In youth I was an easy target for mean tricks to be played on.

These and more have made my life amount to a long drawn out blur of emotion.

Thankfully, with the support of Autism Delaware, that world is changing. With the support of staff in my employment, and with past training in their POW&R program, my self-esteem and sense of worth has been rebuilt. And in that rebuilding, I’ve been able to expand personal growth beyond the office environment. Over the last few years I’ve assisted foreign scholars and students alike with their English-speaking skills through RUFI at the University of Delaware.

All this and more have made a tremendous turnaround in my life, and looking forward, it is the wish of my heart that in the upcoming months I share more about my experiences in the hope of encouraging others that we can grow. We can succeed in life and make a difference.

–Kyle Bryan
March 6, 2017