ARCANUM — Micah Barga has been dealing with autism since he was diagnosed at age 4.
Now, 30, he has high-functioning autism.
How does it affect him?
“I’ve had to learn to adapt to challenges in life,” he said.
He said, for the most part, people have been nice to him.
“Sometimes, it’s difficult for others to understand me,” Barga said. “I’m ok with it. This is how God made me.”
The young man attended and graduated from Arcanum-Butler Local Schools in 2008.
“After high school, I went to Sinclair Community College and Edison Community College to major in game development,” he said. “I graduated from Sinclair in 2012 with a multimedia certification and from Edison in 2013 with an associate of applied business degree in computer information technology/computer games and simulation programming and design. Throughout my school life, I have had certain accommodations when it came to test-taking. I would take my tests in another room with little to no other students and would have my questions read to me by aides. School required a little extra tutoring, but with one-on-one, I was able to accomplish what was required. When I was diagnosed, I was able to receive an IEP through school, which helped me to accomplish what I needed to accomplish in a normal world.”
He is involved with the Miami Valley Youth for Christ, which is a non-profit organization that provides ministry to middle and high school students.
He is the only one in his family who has autism.
Barga lives with his mother and stepfather, Tina and Kyle McClanahan and visits his father, Jeff, and stepmother Linda on a regular basis.
“Matthew is my older brother,” Micah said. “He’s 32 years old and currently lives in Berlin, Germany. Christopher is my younger brother. He’s 28 years old and lives in North Hollywood, Calif. I also have an older sister named Hilary who passed away the after her birth with a rare condition.”
How Micah stay busy?
“I make computer games,” he replied. “This is my potential in life, as well as making cartoons. You can check out my games on the following webpages: https://powermicah.gamejolt.io/ or https://www.gamedev.net/powermicah/. I also have a YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ilaksubstnc. Cartoons are included as well.”
He went on, “For the video game and cartoon occasion, I have my own series called ‘The Adventures of Micah’, which is something I’m hoping to adapt into media someday. I have a Facebook page on it, and can be found at this address: https://www.facebook.com/theadventuresofmicah.”
He also works part-time at the Taco Bell restaurant in town as a crew member, and my job consists of keeping the store clean.
”I sweep the parking lot, scrub the dining room floor, clean tools, you name it. So yes, I like to stay busy,” he said.
In high school, Barga was involved with choir and drama club.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I participate in the 5K Walk/Run for Autism Awareness in Moraine held by the Dayton Autism Society, except for this due to COVID-19.”
How does it feel to be autistic?
“I do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and I’ve just learned how to deal with it,” he responded. “Being autistic has been very challenging for me. I struggle with social skills. Things that come natural for a normal person, I struggle with sometimes, as far as social skills.”
Nonetheless he makes the most of every day.
How has the pandemic affected him?
“I don’t like it at all,” he said “I think the whole thing is an overreaction. As long as you stay hygienic, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Despite this, I’ve been compliant with the regulations and wear a mask and social distance. I’ve kept myself busy during the stay-at-home order by working on my computer games. I’ve managed to complete three of them already. And I have gone on walks when the weather was nice out.”
What does the future hold for him?
“My plans for the future would be to make a living off of what I love doing, whether if it’s making video games, cartoons, or perhaps fixing everyone’s computer problems in the information technology industry,” he said.
When asked who he admires and looks up to, the answered, “I admire my parents because they love me no matter what and have supported me every step of the way. They are what made me the person I am today. My brothers have also been kind and supportive of me throughout life.”
Has autism kept him from doing the things he has wanted to do?
“Absolutely not. Nothing is holding me back,” he said.
When asked to describe his personality, he responded. “I am a loving and caring person who likes to have fun. I strive in building and maintaining relationships with others. I am very sensitive because I have a hard time reading body language, facial expressions, and voice tones, which causes me to take things to face value. I don’t get frustrated for having autism, but I do get frustrated when people don’t understand me as a person with autism.”
His advice to others who are dealing with autism?
“If I can do it, you can do it. Never let someone or something hold you back from reaching your goals or doing what you love doing,” he offered.
Contact Darke County Media Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-569-4315, ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.