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Oral Histories for National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month, dedicated to educating the public about one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities. The New York Public Library’s “Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience” project recently interviewed two young men, who shared their very different experiences coping with life on the autism spectrum.

As a child, Dalton Whiteside moved with his mother from Tennessee to Europe and North Africa and then to New York City. Now an architecture student at CCNY, Dalton discussed the blessings and limitations of his disability and how he uses it in a positive way.  Learn why he says “I’m glad I’m different.”

Brooklyn resident and CCNY student Ryngin Garcia was diagnosed early in life with Asperger Syndrome. Ryngin loves poetry and he is skilled at math, especially algebra. To find out why Garcia believes he has “talents that make him special,” listen to his interview

Autism is believed to affect about one percent of the world’s population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 3.5 million Americans currently live with autism spectrum disorder and that one out of every 68 children will be affected by it. To learn more, visit the CDC's autism information page.

These stories are part of a growing oral history collection through Visible Lives: Oral Histories of the Disability Experience at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library - Interested in sharing your story, collecting stories, or both? Please contact Alexandra Kelly at or 212-621-0552. There are two upcoming volunteer orientation sessions.


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