An Insight Into What It's Like Living With Autism In Texoma

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Autism affects as many as one in every 110 children in America. That's a lot of Texoma kids.

To help our community better understand how best to work with those who have Autism, Families for Autism Support of Texoma, or F.A.S.T., is holding a back to school panel.

Speaking at the panel are four individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Newschannel 6 Lindsey Rogers met up with two of them to find out just what it's like living with Autism in Texoma.

"Every story is different for a person with Autism, but, my story might help fill others in to similarities in their story and help them figure out how I got through it.  And that it's not a bad thing necessarily. There are bad aspects but good can come from being Autistic too," Sam Spangler said.

She found out she had an Autism Spectrum Disorder when she was 15.

She is now a sophomore at Midwestern State University.

"We think differently. We look at a problem. People see this solution, that solution I see this whirly thing," Spangler said.

While she said she faces many challenges, Spangler tries not to let those stand in her way.

"Looking at things differently can sometimes make it difficult to explain what you're thinking to people. There are difficulties with it," Spangler said.

She will be sharing her story at the F.A.S.T. back to school panel Thursday night.

Not only for parents and teachers, but for younger kids who are dealing with the same types of things she has managed to work through.

Like Mason Langford, a sixth grader at Ben Franklin Elementary who is also on the Autism Spectrum.

"One good thing about Autism is sometimes you get help and the bad news is you get bullied lot," Langford said.

Mason is also on the panel and hopes to give insight into his life.

"Getting it straight from the source. Parents and family members can't always get into the kids heads and figure out what they're feeling and what they're expressing it's amazing to hear from their own words and how it affects them," Mason's mom Tiffany Robison said.

One of the things he plans to talk about is what it's like having a severely Autistic younger brother.

"I try to do something and I try to teach him safely, not the hard way," Langford said.

"To have Autism yourself and have a sibling with Autism as well adds in a new dynamic for them to have to deal with," Robison said.

Both Spangler and Langford talked about different techniques they use when things get tough, how they deal with their peers and how important it is to have a good support group.

"You could be amazing with Autism you can be mediocre, amazing anything with autism," Spangler said.

You can hear Spangler and Langford's full stories Thursday night.

The F.A.S.T. back to school panel is from 6-8 p.m. at the Anchor Baptist Church in Wichita Falls.

It is free and open to the public.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6