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Sophomore adapts to life with autism

Gabby Lopez, Feature Page Editor

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For as long as he can remember, sophomore Hunter VanderMolen has had autism, which affects about 1 percent of the world population.

Autism spectrum disorder is a wide spectrum of impaired communication and social interaction.

Hunter’s level of autism is referred to as Aspergers syndrome, which makes it difficult for him to make eye contact with others.

“It is a emotional disorder, for sure,” Hunter said. “I have a really hard time socializing. I have challenges asking questions in class and participating in group activities.”

Hunter is clever when it comes to having a sense of right and wrong, along with always knowing what is the right and the wrong things to do.

Hunter really enjoys is to learn more about animals.

“He really enjoys doing research,” Hunter’s brother, Taggart, said about his brother. “Hunter will look up things on Google or Wikipedia and memorize everything he finds.”

However, being a helping hand has never been a problem to VanderMolen, especially with his younger brother Taggart.

“It was a long time ago, sometime in elementary school,” Hunter said. “Taggart was using crutches and was struggling to get inside. While the rest of the kids rushed inside to get to class, I stayed with him, even though I was late.”

Even though things are difficult for Hunter, there are things that he sees as a gains.

“I do not have to study as long, which is nice,” VanderMolen said. “Since I have Aspergers, it allows me to remember things more easily and recite things.”

Hunter also has a strong bond with his brother as Taggart speaks highly of his older brother.

“He is a great brother,” Taggart said. “Actually, the best brother that I could ask for.”

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