Home > Press > She always knew she was different. In medical school, she finally found out why.

MUSC Catalyst has a published feature story about Project Rex staffer Melanie Wiley. Melanie is the force behind Project Rex Hangout and is pursuing both an MD and PhD while also mentoring autistic teens and children through Project Rex.

When Medical University of South Carolina student Melanie Wiley works with children on the autism spectrum, she knows what they’re going through. She was diagnosed with autism during her second year of medical school.

“I was really struggling,” she said. “I was way overstimulated during class, clinic and exams. Basically everywhere.”

On test days, she was distracted by sounds other students made, such as clicking on keyboards, perfume and fluorescent lights. It’s a problem known as sensory overload that affects people on the spectrum.

And the techniques she’d developed over a lifetime of test taking, including a multistep process for approaching each question to make sure she didn’t miss any of the nuances that sometimes escaped her, were time consuming. That was a problem when it came to tests with time limits.

“I was confident in my knowledge but struggled with exams,” she said.

Wiley realized that her sensory differences, along with the inflexibility that made it hard for her to stop working on one problem and move to the next, were things she needed help with. She also realized it was time to find out whether these two things were connected to some of her other characteristics.

Read the full story at MUSC Catalyst.