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Living with autism

Michelle Bouchard (left) and Nicole Bouchard (right).
Photos courtesy of Nicole Bouchard.
Michelle Bouchard (left) and Nicole Bouchard (right).

This week we’ve been talking about autism, what we know about it, and how autism coverage is changing in Michigan.

Twenty-two-year-old twin sisters Michelle and Nicole Bouchard both have Asperger’s syndrome. It’s commonly thought to be at the milder end of the autism spectrum.  

Michelle says school wasn't easy. "There was a list of things they told me I couldn't do. I couldn't go to college, I couldn't find a job...it was a big struggle for me," she says.

Nicole's experience in school was a bit different. "I tested a little bit higher than Michelle did and I was put in mainstream classes, but pulled out."

In high school they had to become strong self-advocates so they could get the specialized help they needed.

Nicole says people are changing they way they view autism. "People are taking it a lot more seriously now, they're looking at different possible causes...and I'm still learning about that."

Now in college, they’re learning what they can about themselves and their disability to help others understand what it’s like to live with autism.

Nicole says she wants to get a degree in early childhood education. Michelle says she's not sure what she wants to do, and adds that's okay with her.

Michigan Radio is collecting stories from people who are affected by the new autism insurance mandate. Is there a child with autism in your family? How would this new requirement affect you? Follow this link to share your thoughts.
*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. If you want to learn how to be a part of our network, click here.

Mercedes Mejia is a producer and director of Stateside.
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