Josh Thornton, a senior Madera High School student working towards his Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts of America, describes himself as severely autistic and has had to deal with numerous misconceptions about it his whole life.
“People seem to think if you’re autistic you can’t do basic stuff or that you’re stupid,” Thornton said. “That’s just not true and you think that would be obvious to people but it isn’t ... I’ve actually had people come up to me and say they thought autism meant I couldn’t hear sounds and I have to tell them that’s not true at all.”
Instead, Thornton said that his level of autism — a term that covers a broad spectrum of brain-development disorders — was more reactive; as with many autistic people, Thornton can become overwhelmed by social situations.
“Say I have a birthday party and there’s a lot of people there and lots of stuff going on, sometimes it will be too much for me,” Thornton said...