From How the Voice of Autism Talked to Me, to YLAI

When I found out about my 2 nephews’ autism diagnosis, 12 years or so ago, I didn’t know much about autism. After I finished my major in marketing and business and management, I took interest in autism issues because I wanted to help my sister find new research on fighting autism. I have read a lot of books, papers, and medical research about autism although I am not a health professional. After researching autism, I realized that even though there was no cure for it, there were some treatments that tremendously help individuals with autism become self-sufficient.

I also realized that in my home country, even in its country side, there are a few autism centers. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating a non- profit organization with the main goal of helping children and teenagers with autism become part of society.

In the meantime, I heard about YLAI. It was through an event that was held in Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru in November 2016 where I had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Barack Obama’s speech, which had a tremendous influence on my world view. After having participated in this event, I promised myself to participate next year as a YLAI fellow.

I worked really hard on the application process and I left everything in God’s hands. After more than 1 month of having applied to YLAI, I received an email in which the YLAI team invited me to submit a video interview and I said, “how amazing!!!” I submitted the interview and after that, I waited for the YLAI team’s response for more than 1 month approximately. On July the 21st the email from the YLAI team arrived and it said that I had been chosen as a 2017 YLAI Professional Fellow, and I was obviously jumping for joy!

Since this news, I have been preparing everything in order to participate in YLAI in the US. I am pretty sure that this will be an amazing experience from which I am going to learn a lot. I will be able use the knowledge gained at YLAI to implement in my project Ser Azul es Emprender, which works with individuals with autism in my community. Now I am counting the days to participate in YLAI, and I have set my goals so that through this experience I can fulfill those goals. What I have learned through my research about autism in my home country is that those families who have loved ones who are on the spectrum (Autism Spectrum Disorders) have a tough time because most of the time they do not know how to help their relatives. I do believe that through my experience in YLAI, I am going to enrich what I am going to offer through my organization Ser Azul es Emprender in order to truly listen to the voice of autism.

Here is one of my dear nephews. His name is Jesus and he has autism. In this photo he’s really happy since he is participating in the horticulture workshop at Ser Azul es Emprender.

He is my other nephew. His name is Nazario. Like his brother Jesus, he is on the spectrum (ASD). Nazario adores having fun with Nani, his guide dog.

My dear nephew Nazario enjoys watching movies and videos. He is also a really big fan of movie reviews in English; actually, the Aristocat movie review is his favorite one.