My name is Michael Tanzer and I am 26 years old. I have brown hair, hazel eyes, I wear glasses like my parents and I have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I can write and understand in different languages like French, Japanese, German, Spanish, Korean and Hindi. My favourite TV show is South Park, because I find that show even funnier than Family Guy or The Simpsons. South Park was created by my favourite heroes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. If I were a showrunner alongside them, I would give ideas to the creators and the show writers. And my favourite music genre is J-Pop, because it’s uptempo and more energetic than typical American music and my favourite artists has to be SEKAI NO OWARI, EXILE, NAOTO INTI RAYMI, KODA KUMI, MISIA, Arashi, SMAP and Utada Hikaru. Back in 2004 when I was in Grade 7, I first discovered J-Pop when I was watching an Utada Hikaru music video on my Laptop. Speaking of J-Pop, I am also an avid Anime fan when it comes to various anime series like Yo-Kai Watch, Pokemon and Fullmetal Alchemist.
I believe there a lot of things that you should know about what having Autism Spectrum Disorder means for me. I think it’s a blessing and we are very lucky to have Autism. ASD can give a person the abilities that a person never has before. However, you cannot use this label as an excuse because it’s very rude, unfair and it’s not right for us. The point is, I am very smart when it comes to things like this, for example; Not only did I teach myself different languages, but I am also a fast typer. I also taught myself how to read. Having autism does not make you stupid, but instead it makes you special the way you are. You may not understand everything that I’m saying or writing, but for me, I call it Michaelism (“my Autistic English”). It is how I speak and understand what’s going on.
Some things are still hard for me, like money management and dealing with my anxiety. Though it might be hard, but I still want to learn how to deal with both of these issues.
Many people think that people with Autism don’t want friends, but this is NOT true. I have made many friends, some with Autism and some don’t. All of my friends share the same interests with me. It was a little bit hard to make friends, but with support from my family and my support team. I have great friends that I have known for a long time.
A lot of people with Autism don’t have jobs and I think it needs to be changed. People with Autism are able to work, if you give them a chance. And even it helps people like me to volunteer in order to gain experience and help me decide where I would like to work.
And as for me, I have some wishes for myself: One of them is to meet Trey Parker and Matt Stone to help with the upcoming seasons of South Park as both a consulant producer and showrunner and my other wish is to meet SEKAI NO OWARI, because they make great songs and they’re well-knowned in Japan. And my third wish is to meet Justin Trudeau, who became the Prime Minister of Canada now. The message that I want to share with you all: People with autism can can be very independent and have a lot of strengths in them.
When it comes to having an disability, my POV (Point-of-view) experience on having Autism not only helped me but it can help others understand to overcome this disability by growing into a better person through adulthood and able to learn that having Autism is not a problem for everyone and you should be happy with the way you are, because I know I am!
-Michael Tanzer, Thornhill