top of page

Erin's Story

Sharing Emory's Voices

These are our reactions...


What's yours?


I was shocked by the amount of misinformation present in the majority of the responses. One positive thing I can say is that many people in the video knew that autism is a spectrum and that each individual with autism is affected differently. Although people seemed to know that autism is a spectrum, a lot of their responses were indicative of not knowing what autism truly is and how it can affect people. For instance, a lot of people thought that autism was an intellectual disorder, and they seemed to automatically group autism with other disorders like down syndrome. Personally, I do not believe that the misinformed responses were indicative of ill intentions; I think that they were simply indicative of a greater need for autism awareness and education. Their responses showed that misinformation can easily spread in any community even if that community is well-educated. After watching this video, it became very clear that more effort needs to be made to help others understand what autism is and how it differs from other disorders. 

As somebody who has also been diagnosed with autism, Erin’s responses and views were very refreshing to hear. I was actually able to relate to a lot of the things she said. However, I was shocked to learn that Emory OAS has been unable to successfully accommodate those who need academic accommodations. Like Erin, I am fortunate enough to not need academic accommodations, so I have never had to interact with OAS. I think that it is quite alarming that OAS has not been able to successfully accommodate those who truly need it, and something certainly needs to be done about that. Overall, I really liked hearing about Erin’s experiences, and I think that her story and responses can take the Emory community in the right direction in terms of autism awareness.


I was surprised at the wide variety of answers people gave to the question: what is autism? There was a general lack of knowledge, but a lot of the people were aware that autism is a spectrum and the root of the condition is difficulty communicating. I was surprised that many of the people interviewed couldn’t name people in their lives with autism. I thought the second video was absolutely amazing. I thought it was great that Erin was able to shed light on a lot of the misconceptions shared by the Emory community.

Erin if you’re reading this, I think your first-hand experience with autism is inspiring. Your honest review of autism will be so helpful when we try to raise awareness about autism on this campus. 


As someone who grew up with a friend who had ASD along with a cousin, I knew that they had ASD but really did not have a grasp on how to define the inner workings of how it impacted their lives. Since it is a spectrum, it is very diverse in how it impacts each person and thus it is very hard to define in a single sentence. Like stated by a respondent, it is a superpower in some cases, with a lot of famous intellectuals have the disorder, however it is a disorder which means that those who have it will experience trials that they would have without it. That's why I completely understand why so many had misconceptions or couldn't completely define what autism is. I don't think it is out of mal intent but out of the nature of autism combined with another major issue which is the lack of emphasis on education in regards to ASD.

Something that Erin mentioned rang true which was when she mentioned that her views may not be “politically correct”. I think this idea epitomizes another issue with the systematic approach taken to ASD as what she said should be Politically Correct. It is very easy to sidestep an issue out of fear and I feel that is what society encourages with regards to ASD. We are taught to not treat it as a disorder some extent and i feel that is a massive disservice to those who have ASD. Thus I Feel like learning about Erin’s experiences emphasizing how autism impacts them, is an initial step towards teaching people what ASD is. It is through learning through how the experiences of people with ASD are similar and different from those without which will help us better advocate for people with ASD and ultimately spread greater awareness about what the disorder is.


One of the most apparent themes I see surrounding the conversation around ASD is the feeling of discomfort in discussion. Many students seemed to be uncomfortable when asked about their knowledge of autism. I think that this discomfort stems largely from the general lack of knowledge about autism on college campuses. Most students had a vague understanding of the disorder, but did not really understand what autism truly is. I think this hints at a much broader issue about nationwide knowledge and perception of autism. It is apparent that there is a deficiency in standardized language surrounding and describing autism and this is why organizations such as Autism Awareness are so necessary and impactful.

It is important to spread the stories of people like Erin in order to better people’s understanding of autism. By sharing Erin’s story, and the stories of others with autism, we are able to show people what it is really like to live with autism. I think this is an extremely effective way to educate students on the topic rather than simply explaining facts and definitions about autism and the ASD community.

Matthew F.

The first video when the question: “what is Autism?” was asked to many people on campus. It wasn’t a surprise that many individuals did not know what autism actually was or at least admitted that they didn’t know. A lot of information and misinformation is spread throughout our society all the time not just about mental health. But this is the reason as to why our club for example wants to promote social awareness. If we leave this matter not solved, these issues will continue to hurt the progress in the ASD due to misinformation. We want to promote equity for all at emory and life, the first step to that would be cleaning up misinformation so that we can talk truth and seriousness about the resources and time needed to help the community reach their full potential.

Erin’s video was very heartwarming and very truthful about her experience at college and just in general being a student with Autism. I appreciated that she was very upfront about being non pc since she was willing to tell the truth instead of sugar coating it with a white lie as she said. This is important so that help can be given where it’s needed for everyone's success. Autism is a spectrum, so some things that are not a disability for Erin could be for someone else. I also liked how she characterized that it was a social skill disability because this still values their intellectual abilities as Erin is a physics and philosophy. As we are the AAO, we need to make this effort to help change the misconceptions of our peers and promote social awareness and growth.


My first reaction to when I first started watching this video was to ask myself if I could define what Autism is in a few words. It’s definitely not something I could explain well without thinking about it for a little. Understanding autism is definitely important since it is so prevalent and almost everyone knows someone who is affected by autism.

I learned how prevalent misinformation about autism is in today’s culture. At the same time, Erin brings up a good point in saying that pop culture contains so many references to and information about Autism that not being educated about the topic is not acceptable. Her video gave me hope that Emory can begin moving in the direction towards better supporting people with autism by bringing awareness to the current pitfalls.


It’s apparent that there are people in the Emory community who have been misinformed about what autism is. I also could not define autism accurately on the spot. What was shocking was seeing those who did not compassionately define ASD know people who are diagnosed with ASD.

From Erin’s interview, I liked how she views ASD as a social skills learning disability because this definition reflects how autism is a spectrum where some individuals can have difficulty in social interaction and/or intellectual disability.


It was eye opening to see the variety of responses Emory students gave of their perceptions of ASD. In general, not many students gave insightful responses, which showed a lack of understanding and awareness about ASD around campus. Honestly, I was not expecting many students to give a sincere and well-thought out response, and indeed there were a few students who admittedly confessed that they did not quite know a lot about ASD, and other students at least knew that ASD is on a spectrum. Much cannot be said in a few sentences, but overall I wish there was a greater awareness about ASD around campus, so that in the future there would be more a more intellectual discussion surrounding the impact of ASD on individuals.

Erin really summarized the problems with the discussion surrounding ASD within Emory’s campus. Many people in the video described ASD as an intellectual disability, and many statements were inaccurate due to the lack of exposure to true information. When Erin said she that she felt left out, particularly outside Emory, I realized autism awareness should expand beyond just the boundaries of Emory.


I was surprised by the lack of knowledge about autism on Emory’s Atlanta campus and what people thought it was / how they described it. The amount of negative words that went into some people’s answers was also very shocking. I was also saddened by the amount of people who knew others with autism but were unable to define what autism is.

I was surprised to hear about how OAS is unable to give sufficient academic accommodations to students. I was unsure if Erin meant that OAS is not helpful to all students who need academic accommodations, or if they are especially unhelpful when it comes to students with ASD.

Matthew H.

Because of my job, I have seen many different perspectives on ASD. So to some level, I knew that misinformation was going to prevail. However, my expectations were completely blown away. Like Erin said in the next video, a lot of people characterized ASD as an intellectual disability. I think the misinformation comes from labelling or grouping children and adults with special needs into one category. Considering the amount of allusions to intellectual disabilities and even one to downs syndrome... something needs to change.

I was so happy watching Erin get to correct the misinformation propagated from the first video. I agree that not knowing about autism, to a certain degree, is a matter of lack of effort. Life is tough, but it’s hard to believe a majority of people have never taken 2 seconds to do a google search. In this manner, it really puts things into perspective.


The inability to properly define Autism, as well as be able to identity aspects of the spectrum, greatly inhibits our ability to develop empathic attitudes towards these individuals. This misinformation regarding the language and identification of ASD stems from a lack of education faced not only at Emory, but on college campuses across the country.

Erin shows us that these students are our classmates, our friends, and yet many still have not learned the necessary terminology and background to engage in the community and create meaningful change. It is imperative to increase awareness and generate discussion if we hope to disestablish the stigma surrounding ASD and the wonderful people who are on the spectrum. This will allow us to better accommodate them both in academic and social settings, creating a balanced playing field where we are all able to partake and share in the same opportunities, gain exposure to differing perspectives, and grow as individuals through the valuable life lessons of ASD students.

bottom of page