The Smoke Signal

Autism on Campus

Abbi Kissee, Author

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On this campus, every day many students are  facing additional obstacles. Some of these students go unnoticed day to day for the triumphs they make. One of these students who call the Ripon High School campus his home is Kevin Valdez.

Valdez is a senior this year and is among the 3.5 million Americans living with autism in America today. He has grown up in the school system since preschool by attending his church preschool. He continued to attend the mainstream school system by going to Weston elementary and finally making his way to Ripon High School.

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“I have learned what school is like,” said Valdez. “I have made a lot of friends and been active in the public.”

Among his biggest role models are his parents, teachers, and his close group of friends. Without them, Valdez would not be the person he has become.

They are really good parents and they always try to make my life as best as possible.”

— Kevin Valdez

Without his parents, Valdez stated he could not have made it this far. “They are really good parents and they always try to make my life as best as possible,” Valdez proclaimed.The most important part of this relationship, however, as Valdez stated, is that “they understand my diagnosis.”

In his free time, Valdez likes to watch NASCAR races and continue his involvement in his youth group. “I am also a boy scout and plan on getting my eagle scout in 2018,” said Valdez. These activities all impact his daily life in many ways. Valdez said, “They all have told me to be active and do the right thing and don’t hesitate and be noticeable.”

When you are walking around the Ripon High School campus, don’t be too quick to forget about the 12.9% of students who are facing the challenges of disabilities every day.

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