Matthew (right) and his brother Andy

We’re featuring “Slice of Life” conversations with Autistics of all ages — kids through adults — throughout April’s Autism Acceptance Month.

Our goal is to help TPGA readers understand that autistic people are people who have interesting, complicated lives and who are as diverse and varied as any other population united by a label.

We are the people in each other’s neighborhoods, and the more we know about each other — the more visible autistic people and children are — the more common autism acceptance will be. That is our hope.

Today we’re talking with Matthew Shumaker, a talented gardener whose mother Laura Shumaker is a frequent TPGA contributor


What is your name and age?

Matthew Shumaker, 25.

Do you have a website?


What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say? 

I am a very nice person.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

I am good at weed whacking, mowing, blowing and hedge trimming. I am good at singing Oh Pretty Woman and other songs that I write myself.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?

I am happy when I am with pretty girls and with friends.

What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?

I am sad that I don’t have a girl friend. I get angry when people make me do stuff I don’t want to do.

Are there specific topics you find particularly compelling?

Gardening, traveling, singing karaoke in states that I haven’t been to.

What are your preferred ways to be social?

I like to hang out with nice girls and nice guy friends. I like bowling.

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

They have to be nice and they can’t be too busy to spend time with me.

Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

I wish it was easier to have a lot of friends, like a group of friends. I wish I could meet a nice girl or a woman.

What’s the next big goal you have for yourself?

Making money as a gardener, having a girlfriend and traveling.

What does bliss feel like to you?

Like I just told you.