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Mississippi Resident Says Autism Doesn't Define Him

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Mississippi Resident Says Autism Doesn't Define Him
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Taylor Carley is with the Institute for Disability Studies
Taylor Carley

More than 47,000 people in Mississippi are living with an intellectual or developmental disability according to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. MPB's Jasmine Ellis spoke to a man from Sumrall about living with autism.

Sumrall resident Taylor Carley has been hosting his own YouTube show for a number of years. He also works with the Institute for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi. The aspiring writer says living with autism doesn't define him.

"I'm already fully independent," said Carley. "I drive around back and forth to work. I take care of my own finances. I go to my doctor's... I make the appointment. It's just the next step in the future would be living on my own independently. And being financially successful in life."

Some examples of intellectual and developmental disabilities -- or IDDs -- include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism. Renee Brett is with the Department of Mental Health. She says there are two main programs to help people in the state and there are things that Mississippians can do to help.

"Well... I think you can be their friend," said Brett. "You're their neighbors...you attend church with them so you need to treat them like everyone else. Get to know them. Get to learn about them. Know what they like, know what they don't like just like you would seek out anyone else."

Across the U.S. there are more than 7 million people living with an intellectual or developmental disability.