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Ian at the Helm

Photo by: Jackie Tully

Photo by: Jackie Tully

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Many Midlo students have jobs, but few run their own businesses. Sophomore Ian Helm runs his own pet sitting business in his neighborhood. Ian is one of the many extraordinary students who participates in Midlo’s High Functioning Autism Program. Autism has positively affected Ian’s life because he meets people and makes friends through support groups. In addition, he loves getting close to his teachers. A significant teacher who has been with him since 7th grade, Mr. James Biedenharn, says he is “most proud of him for his kindness and ability to understand situations independently.”  Mr. Biedenharn is impressed “with the progress he has made as a man from middle to high school.”

No pet is too big or too small for Ian; he will care of them all. In his free time, Ian enjoys taking care of his neighbors’  cats and dogs. He established his small business a couple years ago when his neighbors asked him to watch their dog. His confident and outgoing personality definitely helps with his entrepreneurship.  In addition to his love for animals, Ian also enjoys playing video games and spending time with his little brother.

In school, Ian has a strong passion for German class. He has taken German for two years, and originally, he was self-taught. This year, he participated in German Club’s charitable work with CARITAS, a nonprofit organization started in Richmond that feeds and shelters the homeless.  His future plans are almost as big as his personality. Ian wants to attend UC Boulder and double major in geology and astronomy. Geology is his main interest, but he wants to have astronomy as a backup in case he struggles to secure a geology-oriented job. Showing great aptitude in science, Ian is currently the only sophomore taking chemistry.

Ian says, “Autism, despite what you might see or hear, does not mean you know everything about it.” He wants people to know that everyone with Autism is unique and possesses different strengths and weaknesses. For example, not all people affected by Autism self-stem, a term used to describe a tick or coping mechanism that some people with Autism use to calm themselves. Ian strongly feels that no one with Autism should be shunned; they are just like everyone else and want nothing more than to be accepted. 

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Ian at the Helm