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A mission to educate and move beyond labels on World Autism Awareness Day

Posted at 7:44 AM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 21:55:15-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — One young man is on a mission to educate and move beyond labels on World Autism Awareness Day. Meet David Phillips, a 27-year-old living with cerebral palsy.

After personally experiencing what he calls the pit-falls of special education, and seeing the impact it was having on his friends and family with autism, he decided to take action. The Town of Tonawanda man launched a website and you-tube channel dedicated to better understanding autism.

While Phillips is not an expert in the field, he hopes his site will serve as a conversation starter or sounding board allowing people to better understand people of all abilities.

"Just because an individual can't talk, and even I get this - they see I'm in a wheel-chair but instantly they talk down to me because they think I can't talk," says Phillips.

"Even if you don't think they can hear you, you're wrong, we can hear you - even if we can't talk back to you, talk to us, we're not gonna bite, we're not sugar, we're not gonna melt you - we're just a normal everyday human."

He hopes his website called Unlocking the Key to Autism, and his YouTube channel can be a resource for anyone needing or seeking a support network.

According to the CDC, one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2018.

World Autism Awareness Day raises awareness and acceptance to people who have autism. It's recognized on the second day of April every year.