By Lana J. Carlton, Academic Coordinator, CLE Austin

Lana Carlton, CLE Austin
Each day as we wake and venture into the world, we strive to impact our communities by being a productive citizen; contributing our skills and responding to one another with simple acts of kindness. However, how would these same skills be employed, if you were living on the spectrum? CLE Austin’s Christos Papageorgakis has an offered an inside perspective to his truly unique world!

What does the word ‘Autism’ mean to you?

From the moment I was born, my brain underwent a development that is above average for a typical human brain. As a result, I have a framework of many sharp feelings and slow-paced actions.

When did you begin noticing your unique qualities?

Cristos at CLE Austin
The first time that I became aware of having autism, I was transitioning from elementary to middle school. I started noticing that I was working at a slower rate and struggled to find the right words to use during a conversation, whenever I felt pain, or was tired. I have a bit of trouble trying to understand concepts that people use. However, autism has allowed me to endure more and allows me to think more creatively and logically than most people in our world. Those are the gifts that I think autism has given me.

If there was anything you could tell your instructors or parents about living on the spectrum, what would it be?

When it comes to learning, I need to use a kinesthetic and visual approach especially in math. In order to fully understand I must decode directions and try to make things more concrete. I learn best with spreadsheets or referencing papers where I have highlighted areas where I need help. When I am at CLE, my tutors give me examples of the problem and that helps me to understand my work. CLE has also helped me with setting goals and establishing routines so I can be well rested and prepared for my classes.

What you would you say to your classmates trying to ease into socializing with others?

If anything, I would tell them to ask questions to get involved in conversations. One example would be ‘Are you interested in playing video games, sports, or drawing pictures?’ This will allow the person to think more on ideas that they have experienced, and they will actually want to explain it you.

Are there any final words that you would like to share with your peers at CLE?

I want you all to know that if you are not able to succeed the first time with speaking with a friend, adult, or classmate, you just need to practice. You should just try talking to other people. Just because you have autism, it doesn’t mean mastering a conversation is unattainable. Try speaking to anyone in general. Just like anything in life, you must practice if you want success.

And to finish, Christos wanted to share a quote to inspire and bolster his peers:

“I might hit developmental and societal milestones in a different order than my peers, but I am able to accomplish these small victories on my own time”
– Haley Moss


Roy, I. (2017, April 02). World Autism Awareness Day Quotes: 11 Best Quotes From People With Autism. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from