One of the hardest and overwhelming challenges I faced was misophonia, which is a disorder where certain sounds trigger strong emotional or physiological responses. To me, it felt like a physical pain in my head. I would verbally hurt people I cared about, even though I never meant to. I was worried I would have to live with it forever, and it was frustrating how many sounds would “trigger” me. Thankfully, my behavior analyst and my parents went out of their way to research how to help me, and we found a therapist who specializes in treating misophonia. This was one of the biggest challenges I overcame, and it was a major life changer.

While I didn’t agree at times to work with the ABA therapists, I grew to respect them a lot. I liked the way they were hands on teaching me at my house where I was comfortable. I liked how they treated me. They helped me with recommendations for issues in school, activities outside of school, and friendships. The only thing I didn’t like was how often an ABA therapist would be switched out. Even though a certain therapist would work with me for about 1 to 2 years, it felt like it was more often than that. It was challenging to accept this frequent change, even though it was out of their control.

My life is far better now than it was 9 years ago. I can do things on my own. I also have gotten drastically better with my social skills, and I am now able to have a steady conversation with almost anyone. I am about to go to college this fall, where I will stay on campus 3 hours away from home. I have accomplished several feats over the years, such as playing violin at a high skill level, and earning my 3rd degree black belt in mixed martial arts. I also work at my karate school as an instructor, where I am respected by staff and students alike. I have to give thanks to my parents, and all the therapists and behavior analysts who worked with me over the years, as I would never be where I am now without them.

We are grateful to Matt for generously sharing his story.

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