Thursday, June 30, 2011

'Just Treat Me Like Anybody Else'

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Scott Wood is many things: valedictorian of the Class of 2011 at the Media Arts and Communications Academy, where he also was elected prom king; a budding scholar who is leaning toward studying either accounting or astrophysics when he starts college on a scholarship this fall; a young entrepreneur who spends Saturdays running a booth at the McMinnville Public Market.

He also is autistic. He's willing to talk about the neurodevelopmental disorder that makes communication and interpersonal interaction challenging. In fact, he started his market booth so he could educate people about autism.

However, he doesn't let autism define him, and he doesn't want to be dealt with differently because of it.

"Just treat me like anybody else," he said.

"Don't try to treat me as someone who needs help, or who's different," he said. "Just treat me like anybody else."

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