“For my dad,” begins the 24-year-old Newark resident, “[my] graduating from Christiana High School and the University of Delaware’s career and life studies program was evidence of me exceeding expectations. When he learned that I had autism, the goal more or less was to make sure I could do everyday things, like go to the bathroom and take a bath, without constant assistance. When I graduated, my dad’s fears were proven unfounded.
“When I think about or even remember I have a degree and certificate,” continues Denny, “I see them as essentially souvenirs that I got while I was working on trying to achieve my goals. Most of the time, I work, sleep, or do something fun.
“Overall, I would say my processes for both high school and college needed consistent and dedicated effort. There were both easy and hard parts.
“The one thing I remember being difficult,” adds Denny, “was Spanish class in high school. The Spanish language is counter-intuitive for me, and I took after-school lessons that only led to me getting a barely passing D or C grade.”
Because of Denny’s school experience, he can see the benefit of further education, such as college classes involving writing and the theater. He is also open to any other subjects that involve creative work with entertainment media (in other words, books, movies, and video games).
“My dream job,” says Denny, “is being a writer. Have I achieved it? Right now, my hobby is buying how-to-write books and using them to help me attempt to write stories—or at least the ideas and explained mechanics of stories. So, the short answer is ‘Yes, I have reached my defined dream of being a writer, but no, I have not published or released anything of note yet.
’“Currently, I work within a lab involved with breeding and housing a supply of lab rodents. I essentially keep things stocked, filled, and ready for general medical experiments and college student assignments.
“I cannot think of any alternatives to my current job, and I currently just feel intimidated by what I want to do—write—and maintaining my current job. It’s a viable situation most of the time, but it does highlight my problem with definitive long-term goals.”
In the meantime, Denny turns to writing as a recreational outlet. He reads a lot, too, and reviews and edits Wiki information sites. Like most young men today, he also enjoys playing video games.
“I don’t consider anything a major accomplishment in my life,” sums up Denny, “because my next accomplishment is always bigger than the last one. I just remember to work toward my goals and not to feel tired.
“Now that I think about it, an important accomplishment is being able to go to sleep at a sane time so I get to work on time.”
Sun contributor Michael Denny is a graduate of the University of Delaware Career & Life Studies Certificate program.
This text was edited for consistency of language and message and appears in the October–December 2015 issue of the Autism Delaware™ quarterly newsletter, The Sun.