Stefano Di Cecco – Living with ASD

Finding out that your child has autism can completely change your world. “At the beginning, there’s devastation,” says Mattea Di Cecco, whose son, Stefano, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at age three. “But you move forward, and he really taught us to look at the world differently,” she recalls. This year, at 13 years old, Stefano wrote about his experience living with ASD for an oral speaking competition, which he went on to win in the entire York District. “[I] chose [that topic] to educate others and show that everyone is different,” says Stefano. “Some kids can’t talk, so I want to talk for them.” Mattea advises parents that being open with their children about their diagnosis can really help them, as they can begin to comprehend why they may face challenges.

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Due to his speech, Stefano was recognized by the Waves of Changes for Autism organization, which has named him its junior ambassador. “I’m one face of autism, and I hope to spread awareness that all people are unique and special whether they have a disability or not,” says Stefano. When he gets older, Stefano would like to become an actor or get into a field where he can write or work with computers. One thing is for sure, though: ASD won’t stand in his way.

Photos By carlos a. pinto

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