By Rusty Hornig-Rohan, Database and Spreadsheets Manager at the Global Autism Project

My name is Russell Hornig-Rohan and I am the Database and Spreadsheets Manager for the Global Autism Project. I get to talk about what it is like to be an individual with autism and how I am able to do things independently now. I am grateful that I got to get involved with SkillCorps in 2013 and accepted to go on the trip to beautiful Peru in February 2014. When I went to Peru, I got to hike all the way to the top of Machu Picchu and translate for a boy with autism in Lima. I also got to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean in beautiful, downtown Lima. I visited Cusco and participated in Carnaval! Cusco has such beautiful artifacts, hotels, shops and restaurants. I also visited a wonderful museum in Cusco, The Museo Del Convento San Francisco-The Museum of San Francis Covenant where I got to look at the Old Cathedral on the inside. I saw lots of Incan Artifacts. In Machu Picchu, I really liked the view of the Amazon River Jungle, the hiking trails,the llamas and other animals near the ruins, as well as the ruins of the ancient Inca Fortress City. Machu Picchu was definitely the best ancient fortress city I have visited in the world so far. In The Dominican Republic, I got to watch The BCBAs working with children in Santo Domingo. In the Dominican Republic, I also got to see Los Tres Ojos National Park, the Colonial Area of Santo Domingo, the Chocolate Museum, and The Catholic University of Santo Domingo. I also got to go to a coconut plantation/chocolate plantation where I made hot chocolate. I also got to ride horses on a trail and see the tallest waterfall in the Dominican Republic.

In conclusion, I am grateful that the Paddle For Autism Awareness made me get involved with the Global Autism Project back in 2009. I am lucky that I got to start volunteering for the Global Autism Project in 2010 and to have been an official employee for the Global Autism Project for 3 years. I feel that being an official employee for the Global Autism Project has enabled me to get involved in more SkillCorps Orientations and more SkillCorps Trips. Being an official employee for the Global Autism Project means that I have to take on more tasks and responsibilities. “Autism Knows No Borders, Fortunately Neither Do We” is an important campaign slogan in the Global Autism Project because in all countries around the world people with autism should know what the borders are between having limited support services and limited education and the borders between lots of support services and lots of education. I hope to be a member of Leadership Academy in the future so that I can help lead SkillCorps trips and get to develop stronger personal connections with fellow SkillCorps members, alumni, and leaders.

*The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Global Autism Project.*