‘Don’t give up’: Canadian man with autism shares personal journey to inspire others

A man with autism is sharing his story with the hopes of inspiring others.

Blake Priddle has come a long way. He is now in his 20s, reporting and swing announcing for Arctic Radio in Manitoba.

He is also the proud author of the book Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay.

Priddle explains his life journey as a collection of good and bad days, although a lot more good, attributing much of his success to his parents.

“Without them it’s very clear that I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.

“They never gave up on me, they’re still fighting for me as we speak, and I’m fighting for people with autism too.”

While speaking with his mom, Priddle came up with the idea of writing a book to not only showcase his life but also reveal some of the challenges he and his parents had to overcome.

“The overall hope is that we can inspire parents that have children with autism to have hope for their children, and people on the spectrum that maybe don’t know where they’re going in life, to give them inspiration too,” he explained.

Learning to communicate

A major hurdle for Priddle as he grew up was learning how to communicate effectively. Up until about the age of five, he was non-verbal.

“I really didn’t start talking until then,” he said. “That was a challenge that I had to overcome, but I did it.”

Priddle explains having accommodations throughout school really helped him get to where he is today.

It wasn’t easy though.

“My parents had to fight hard to ensure that I had the one-on-one support that I needed,” he said, adding he had accommodations available to him in college as well if he needed them.

One of his biggest accomplishments to date was graduating from college on the dean’s list in the radio program and winning the faculty choice award, ultimately helping him land his radio job.

However, Priddle says 85 per cent of his peers who have autism don’t have meaningful employment.

He is hoping that sharing his story will help give them the motivation to push on.

“Don’t give up, you keep trying,” he said.

“That’s the one thing that I want employers to know is that just because a person may be behaving a different way or maybe they’re not making eye contact, don’t assume that it’s because they’re not interested, it could be autism.”

The sky’s the limit for Priddle who says his future plans include continuing his work in radio, writing a screen play, creating a TV show, or being chosen for an acting role.

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