Alex Lee spent most of his childhood in Hong Kong, where he was first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. At two years old, he began receiving occupational therapy and his parents started noticing a difference in his behavior — specifically a budding artistic ability. Alex finished high school and college in the U.S. and worked with the Department of Rehabilitation to determine next steps. His counselor suggested working with a non-profit organization to get his foot in the door. Now he’s putting his artistic talent and graphic design skills to good use as a marketing intern for Goodwill.
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Alex - I had a rough childhood while I was in Hong Kong. When I was two weeks old, my family and I moved back for ten and a half years. Before age one, I was…very intelligent, doctors said I might be a genius. But then after age one, I…. kind of stopped speaking, and then… stopped making eye contact with people, and then… as well as not letting anyone hugging me or touching me. That’s kind of like symptoms of… being autistic.
At age two and a half, I had like an assessment test where I needed to perform certain tasks. I couldn’t do it at all. Doctors considered me low function, low IQ person and then my family felt so devastated.
Right after that, they began taking me to physical therapist to kind of settle me down. At age four and a half I started speaking again, calling mom and dad.
I’ve changed so much ever since I moved to the US.
My parents discovered that I could draw, I could do creative stuff. While I was still in college I wanted to work in the non-profit organization. My family and I talked to the counselors here to see where I should go work and then they recommended Goodwill.
Right now I am working as a marketing intern. I know, as soon as I moved back to America, I felt like I needed to, to be successful. I don’t want to live like I used to be.