Being diagnosed on the autism spectrum made my identity even more complex.



August 27, 2019

“I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum my senior year of high school. Finally, I understood why it felt like everyone had a social rule book except me. This diagnosis brought new challenges to my already complex identity as a Chinese adoptee raised by a Jewish single mom. Now, a senior in college, and a Ruderman Inclusion Ambassador, I’m working to make my Jewish community and campus community more inclusive to students on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities. When Rachel Klein, the executive director of Hillels of Westchester, asked me to take on my first leadership position at Hillel as an ambassador this year, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to bring the inclusion work I’ve been doing for the past couple years to Hillel and Sarah Lawrence College. It can be difficult for students with disabilities to find their community. My goal is to make our Hillel and campus a welcoming space for everyone.” — Ava Rigelhaupt, Sarah Lawrence College