Keenan is bright, easy to talk to, warm, and funny. He is also autistic. Keenan’s abilities and talents are proof that a diagnosis doesn’t define you.
Having his first computer at the age of 7, Keenan has loved technology from a young age. He recalls enjoying playing the game Chuzzle during those early years. These days he can be found playing Call of Duty on a computer he built himself, a talent he discovered this past year.
Another talent Keenan has discovered during the pandemic is his gift for music. Playing both the guitar and piano, Keenan is self-taught.
“I would watch videos on YouTube on how to play piano,” shares Keenan. “It is about memorizing the keys that go with the notes. The guitar is about trial and error.”
Jackie Householder, Program Director, recalls hearing Keenan play the piano for the first time.
“I heard him play not long after he moved in,” says Jackie. “I told him I didn’t know he could play. He said he didn’t know he could either.” Wanting to expand to other instruments, Keenan would like to learn the violin and drums next.
In addition to teaching himself how to play music, Keenan has taught himself some Japanese, Russian, German, and Italian. He enjoys learning about many topics and enjoys sharing information on orca whales he learned from a documentary he recently watched.
As Keenan states, “The way to get smarter is to seek knowledge.”
Keenan has lived at Echoing Hills Community Living since January 2020, also participating in Echoing Connections. Before the pandemic, he liked visiting the arcade and restaurants. His favorite thing, however, is the relationships he has made with team members and individuals alike. He shares it is because of “trust, honesty, a similar sense of humor, and the love of scaring people” that he has especially bonded with two team members and an individual he lives with, Aric.
“Others gravitate towards Keenan,” shares Jackie. “He has a kind heart and is always looking for ways to help others.”
The CDC link reports autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), affects 1 in 54 children in the United States.
ASD can create challenges with behavior and communication. These challenges vary in type and severity for each individual; however, so do their God-given talents.
To learn more about ASD visit autismspeaks.org. There you will find information on signs and symptoms, treatments, resources, and more.