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Normally, the guest of “Last Call” would not be a member of Drexel’s faculty. Now, that’s not a knock towards our staff, as they are all very interesting, with their own stories to be told. However, I knew that, at least in this case, there would only be one exception: arguably the greatest influence on my life at Drexel and countless others.
Dr. Amy Edwards of the Drexel Autism Support Program (DASP) and is, in this writer’s opinion, one of the most underrated faculty at Drexel. Not only is she as smart as a whip and extremely opinionated (our numerous debates will always be considered highlights on my week), but she also has an amazing personality, is incredibly funny and will always make sure that when you are in her office, you are her number one priority.
We would talk about everything, and I mean everything. Due to my desire to go anywhere on campus without assistance and live like a normal person without being seen as someone with a “disability,” our one-on-one conversations would always relate to major decisions, personal matters, things of that nature. During the course of that, we really got to know each other and, as a result, we were able to click in a way that I normally don’t with other teachers.
It’s because of those meetings that she and I, over the past three years of which she was Director of DASP, have done numerous lectures together about autism advocacy and experiences on the spectrum. On those stages, she would always give such a strong command, being able to hold a room and a conversation with those who wanted to understand while also teaching me skills that have come in handy on programs such as “Last Call.”
Behind every person who wants to change the world is the ultimate supportive backbone who also wants to change things for the better. Amy Edwards, during my time at Drexel, was my backbone. So, it’s actually quite appropriate to have her as my final original guest, since it was her lessons and challenges to become even more open-minded and focused on the details that got me to this point.
So, to all my listeners, on the spectrum or not, let’s open our minds and ears. The time has come.