Ethan Hirschberg's Blog

Individuals of all ages on the Autism spectrum have been fighting for job opportunities for decades. According to The Guardian, "32% of adults on the spectrum don't have any work at all, compared to 47% of disabled adults and 80% of non-disabled adults". This is because "60% of employers said they worry about getting support for an Autistic employee wrong, and an equal number say they do not know where to go for advice."

My Social Life at School

November 1, 2017

For people unfamiliar with Autism, when they think about it, I believe they usually think about the physical aspects of this complicated disorder. Yes, people with Autism make physical motions that others can see like stimming or trying to nonverbally communicate. But there are also emotional and social issues involved. For people with Autism, especially kids and teens, one of these struggles is the well-known idea of a stereotypical “social life.” This is something that is on most kids and teens’ minds but with Autism I experience this in a whole different way.

Being social has always been a challenge for me. One harsh but very true reality for me is that I don’t have that many friends. I can think of one friend that I have. I’m not going to say his name but he is my best friend. 

As I’ve explained in the past, I have routinely gone to a psychiatrist once every three months for the past seven or eight years. This means that I take several different medications throughout the day to control certain behaviors. I also am well aware that these medications are what help to keep me calm and that, if I don’t take them, it is much harder for me to control my behavior.

With anyone who takes medication, it’s certain that medications will be forgotten once in a while. 

Is He Yelling At Me?

September 20, 2017

Ethan Hirschberg with his dad

A few days ago, my dad and I got into an argument. I was watching some television when my dad asked me to get up and take my dogs out to go to the bathroom. Ever since I got my new dog (Bruin) my whole family has been playing, training, and being with him as well as giving attention to my older dog (Asher). I was tired and lazy and all I wanted to do was stay seated since I took the dogs out multiple times in the previous hour. My dad got very upset with me and raised his voice. I also became very upset because he was yelling at me. I later found out that, even though he was loud, he wasn’t yelling.

This past Friday was my last day of school. I’m finally done with my freshman year! On the last day of school, kids generally feel excitement and joy (among many other things). I feel this way too. I’m excited for summer along with all of the other kids getting out from school. But, there’s a catch. School has a set routine every day and I always know what is going to happen that day. My class schedule doesn’t change and this allows me to stay calm during a typical school day. Since I can remember, I have always needed to know the plan for the day. My summer days don’t generally have a set, routine schedule. So along with my excitement and joy, summer brings anxiety as well.

In the “real world,” business is a serious topic. Many people can be relaxed about other less important topics, but when it comes to money, everyone is serious. According to the Fortune 500, “Fortune 500 companies represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $12 trillion in revenues, $840 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market value, and employ 27.9 million people worldwide.” A small percentage of businessmen and women are entrepreneurs. To be an entrepreneur, you need to be part of a special “breed.” An entrepreneur is one who starts a business while taking a risk.

As someone with Autism, I have special interests that I am hyperfocused on. Business in general, but specifically entrepreneurship, has been one of my special interests. My mom says that my business interest started at age five with lemonade stands, selling chips to my friends, and garage sales.

People have differing viewpoints about technology; its usage, our over-reliance on it, and the impact that it is having on the younger generations. I believe that most people, however, realize that technology is the new way of life and will stay relevant forever. As a teenager with high-functioning Autism, I use technology constantly every day. I believe that technology can greatly benefit people with Autism. I have used multiple tech products in my life that have helped me tremendously.

​I have been asked a number of times how I learned that I had Autism. I remember some things and I got the help of my mom to remember other things. So, here I go… Ever since I was a toddler I knew that I was different. When I was three or four years old I asked why people called me “weird” and why I was different from everybody else. When I was eight years old my mom tried to read me a book about a boy who had high-functioning Autism. During the first chapter I got very uncomfortable and didn’t want to be read to anymore. My mom then realized that the description of the book was so much like me that I became upset about it and that I wasn’t quite ready to learn about my diagnosis.