Local man shares his experience living with autism

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, an annual opportunity for people to better understand and accept those with autism.

Lynn Haven resident George Bass II is living with autism. He and his mother Denise Bass are overcoming challenges together and hoping to inspire others at the same time.

Denise calls him the gentle giant.

“Because he’s very compassionate, kind-hearted. He’s always worried about people’s feelings,” Denise said. “But you know you have people that still see him as different. It’ll always be that way.”

George was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old.

“We were basically told when he was diagnosed that he would never talk. If he went to school, it would be to a special needs school. He would most likely live at home with us the rest of his life,” Denise said.

Twenty-seven years later, that isn’t the case.

“I had one of my college professors tell me he wishes that there was a copy of me he could condense into a little pocketbook to keep in his coat pocket,” George said.

George said growing up with autism, people always looked at him differently. But he said that’s because he is different. He has qualities that make him extraordinary.

“I have an eidetic memory which means I can pretty much remember any kind of major event to the date,” George said.

George is just a few classes shy of getting his bachelor’s degree in social science.

“I wanted so bad to go back to those physicians in the beginning and say look at my child now. My son now,” Denise said.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy. Denise said George wanted to be a meteorologist more than anything, but unfortunately, he couldn’t get through those classes. But, that didn’t discourage him.

“You just look at it as okay it’s a roadblock, let’s jump over it. Let’s find a new goal. A new thing that we can work on,” Denise said.

And a new way of looking at those with autism is what George hopes people can consider.

“I would say never underestimate somebody with autism. Because there’s always at least one great asset people have. Me and others,” George said.

For the month of April, many will celebrate the millions of people living with autism who inspire them every day.

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