Overcoming the Odds: Autism

For Andrew Duff, growing up wasn't easy. He knew he was different. Andrew didn't say his first word until he was 5. All signs pointed to autism.

- For Andrew Duff, growing up wasn't easy. He knew he was different. Andrew didn't say his first word until he was 5. All signs pointed to autism. So Andrew's parents acted quickly and got him to a specialist. He said the doctor said he would be lucky to find a job cleaning toilets.

Andrew was enrolled in the special education classes at his New Jersey elementary school. Knowing he was different from the other kids was tough and he battled with depression.

But Andrew thrived in school. He tested out of the special education classes and went into the main stream classroom. He graduated and was accepted into Bennington College in Vermont.

Andrew said he struggled socially in college. But Andrew found his niche studying video and theater. After graduation, he was cast for a show about autism in New York City, where Andrew captured the attention of the president for Autism Speaks, an advocacy and research organization.

The president of Autism Speaks offered him a job. A few months later, he was working in the media department doing video production

CJ Volpe, chief of media strategy at Autism Speaks, said that "Andrew is terrific" and is an example of what someone in the Autism spectrum can achieve/

The CDC estimates 1 in 68 children are affected by autism spectrum disorders. And it's 4 to 5 times more likely in boys. Doctors don't know what causes autism and there is no cure.

At Autism Speaks, Andrew gets to hear stories from families who battle with the developmental disorder every day. The job has forced Andrew to ask tough questions to his interview subjects and himself.
 

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