“I Am More Than My AuDHD”: scholarship recipient Lucia on her experience with dual neurodivergence, law aspirations, and living a limitless life.

“I Am More Than My AuDHD”: scholarship recipient Lucia on her experience with dual neurodivergence, law aspirations, and living a limitless life.

April is Autism Acceptance or Autism Awareness Month, and regardless of what one refers to it as, it is a time for both neurodivergent and neurotypical communities to recognize the importance of welcoming, supporting, and celebrating autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dreamzilla’s latest scholarship recipient, Lucia Bricmont-Vazquez, is an exemplary individual of someone who has openly accepted her ASD and ADHD. Lucia’s wise perception of life and being neurodiverse is an inspiration.

Lucia is just weeks away from graduating high school and mere months away from starting her college career at San Jose University where she will be studying criminology. After college, her hope is to go to law school to become a lawyer. Lucia recently attended her school’s prom, excelled in mock trial class, and created her own animation that tells the story of her autism. She is flying high and buoyant with success and has a bright and promising future. However, Lucia didn’t always feel as optimistic as she does today. 

Lucia was diagnosed with autism at three years old and with ADHD a few years later. About how she felt about her neurodivergence, Lucia recounts “My parents never really told me that I have autism. It was just kind of part of my life.” Lucia’s parents were and continue to be a constant support for Lucia, always lifting her up, and reminding her what she is capable of. “My parents never wanted me to be limited. For instance, my mom always enforced working on math and English during the summer so I could keep up with my education.”

While her family never made her feel different for being neurodivergent, Lucia shared that outside of her family that wasn’t always the case. In school Lucia sometimes struggled navigating social settings. For a few years Lucia was placed in Special Education, but since she has high functioning autism, she was able to transition out of the curriculum for middle and high school. Transferring out of Special Ed had its advantages and its drawbacks.

Special Ed sometimes limited me, but I always persevered. When I was able to transfer out of Special Ed, it was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m really glad I did. It helped me to grow as a person instead of staying fixed in place. I learned a lot after leaving Special Ed, which made me better at interacting with others, improving my schoolwork, and honestly, everything in life. It was a difficult journey, but I’m glad I am where I am now.

Since Lucia has ADHD and autism, she experiences a mix of symptoms from both disorders. Although, this may not have the complicated impact one would assume. One way her ADHD shows up is by making it difficult to finish work and cause Lucia to accidentally interrupt in conversations. Meanwhile, her autism can present struggles with social cues. While these experiences can be frustrating on their own, Lucia commented that her ADHD and autism balance each other out since her autism can help her stay focused and her ADHD helps her to remain interactive with others.

Having both disorders is not uncommon. Research suggests that 50% to 70% of people with autism have an ADHD comorbidity.1 Likewise, 20% to 50% of people who have ADHD have autism.2 When someone has both disorders, they fall under the abbreviated term “AuDHD.” Even though today AuDHD is a common term and many people are diagnosed with both disorders, until 2013 ADHD and autism were studied independently, meaning that the research for how the two disorders can affect each other has only just begun to be studied.3 Perhaps as the autism-ADHD comorbidities are further studied, it will be more evident how they balance each other out.

In addition to sometimes working together rather than against each other, Lucia’s AuDHD has taught her valuable lessons about life.

I perceive the world differently. I see things differently. My brain is not like others, and it has made me adapt to circumstances and situations in my own way rather than the typical ways others may use. We can’t all be the same. How are we going to grow as a society if we’re all just the same? We need diverse perspectives and people. That’s how we evolve.

Because Lucia has faced challenges that others may not have, she believes that her autism and ADHD have made her a more hardworking person. “It’s helped me be a person who wanted to continuously preserve and that’s willing to take more risks.” Lucia believes that because of the risks she was brave enough to make, she’s had experiences she otherwise never would have had. One risk she took was during her time on her high school track team. When her coach picked her to participate in one of the last races, she happily accepted. “My coach asked me because even though I may not be one of the fastest runners on the team, I was one of the hardest working on the team.” Another risk Lucia took was taking a mock trial class this past year on top of her already heavy workload because she thought it would be a good pre-law experience. “Despite it being stressful at times, I’m glad I took mock trial because I learned so much and it made me want to be a lawyer even more.”

Lucia’s mindset on never letting anyone or any belief slow her down is a true testament to her confidence in herself. She understands what it’s like to move through adversity and come out the other side stronger. About the difficulties life may present, she noted, “You’re going to have to experience hard things to grow. It hurts and it does feel bad but if you allow those things to make you feel down then you are just giving up. And you can’t give up. You have to learn from hard experiences to grow.” Nevertheless, she also understands that “For people with autism and ADHD, the stereotypes have made it harder for them to overcome difficulties or become who they truly are. These limiting beliefs say that ‘Autistic people can’t be this or can’t do that.’ But no, we can do anything everyone else can do. Others are just preventing us from the opportunities that allow us to succeed.”

Lucia’s long-term goal is to attend law school after she gets her bachelor’s in criminology. Working in criminology has been a dream of Lucia’s since middle school. “I wanted to do something in the crime field because I think it would be really exciting. I’m someone who always wants to do more in life. I want to do something real, and I want to stress myself out every once in a while. But in a good way!” Although what criminology career Lucia wanted to pursue has changed throughout the years, what has never changed is her desire to be in a career that helps people. Lucia wants to be a lawyer because she wants to work with disadvantaged groups, namely those who struggle with low income, are neurodivergent, women, people of color, and/or immigrants. It’s important for Lucia to one day be able to fight for the rights of people belonging to these groups. Another reason she wants to become a lawyer is so she can give back to her family who has given so much to her and to repay her parents by giving them opportunities they were unable to have earlier in life. “I want to become a successful lawyer and help my family economically because they have helped me in so many ways. They have made things easier for me. Without my family, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Since her family has been such a crucial support to Lucia, she believes that they are why she is her biggest baddest self and why she is her “best self.” Because her family has made her into her best self, Lucia has confidence in herself to grow and to try new things. She said, “I think a lot of people tend to focus on how others might have impacted them, but I think it’s important to also thank yourself for getting you where you are. People need to love themselves more. Be happy for who you are and what you’ve accomplished.”

Outside of school related extracurricular, Lucia likes to play video games, hang out with her dog, Luna, and her cat, Bonsai, and spend time with her family and friends. Lucia has a special bond with her animals, namely her previous cat Saki who was with the family for twelve years. Lucia recalls the years she spent with Saki fondly saying that the cat would hang out with her when she came home from school and was always by her side. Likewise to spending time with her pets, Lucia values time spent with her family which includes her parents and her three younger sisters. Lucia shared that she feels like she has a unique bond with her sisters because they are all neurodivergent and have had similar neurodiverse experiences. Her youngest sister who has autism is nonverbal, and Lucia said that can sometimes create challenges with communication but that what matters most is that they are always there to support each other.

One of Lucia’s greatest passions that she is especially skilled in is art. At home, Lucia often does art with two of her younger sisters, all of whom encourage each other to form new ideas and share inspirations. Lucia has a particular interest in creating her own animations. One animation project she is most proud of is a video she created in high school animation classes that illustrates her experience with autism. “It took a year for me to finish. My teacher wanted me to show it to my class. At first, I was a little unsure of sharing it because I was self-conscious about my autism; I didn’t want to be seen as different and I didn’t want people to see me as just autistic. I want to be seen as more because I am more than my autism and ADHD.” When Lucia felt ready to share her animation project she did and was proud of herself for being brave enough to show her hard work off.


When discussing her neurodivergence today, Lucia can say with confidence and pride, “I am just a regular person like everyone else. Yes, I have ADHD and autism, but those things don’t define me. What defines me are my actions, who I am, and how I see myself.”


  1. Camille Hours, Christophe Recasens, and Jean-Marc Baleyte, “ASD and ADHD Comorbidity: What Are We Talking About?” Frontiers in Psychiatry 13, no. 837424 (2022).
  2. Amy Marschall, “AuDHD: When Autism and ADHD Co-Occur,” verywellmind, last modified 20 February 2024.
  3. Debra Bercovici, “An introduction to AuDHD,” Embrace Autism, last modified 8 April 2024.


About the Author:

Alyssa Marchese

Alyssa Marchese is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado where she earned her bachelors in English creative writing. Alyssa was diagnosed with ADHD in her early twenties which ignited her passion for promoting the importance of mental health and neurodiversity awareness. She enjoys listening to audiobooks, knitting, and volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Author’s Website

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