Meet The Cheerleader of the Week: Caroline B.

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Caroline has always had a special place in her heart for kids. 

"I always felt for children with disabilities and always wanted to be there for them and love them like they want to be loved." 

So, it's not surprising that she found her passion while working with children.

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"I was a part time substitute teacher my senior year of college and that's when I first started working with kids with autism and saw the need for it," she said. "It all just fell into place – I graduated with my undergrad in psychology and was looking for a new career and to further my education."

She just graduated with her master's degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy from Ball State University and she's getting ready to start a new job working at a school.

"I actually have to get 1500 observation hours before I can sit for my boards to be a licensed board certified behavior analyst. So, that's what I'm working towards now. I'm excited to be hands-on and really start working in the field."

The Colts Cheerleaders partnered with Apple Vacations for their 2018 Creative Shoot in Mexico. Here is a look at Caroline's trip to the Sandos Playacar Resort in Mexico showing her personality!

For Caroline, working with kids to help improve their lives is the most rewarding part of what she does.

"The main part of autism is they can't communicate, they can't express how they're feeling or what they're thinking or how to get through a certain situation and to help a child communicate what they want and what they need and to see them have that relief of, 'Ok. I needed that. They now understand that. And I'm getting that sense of relief,' it's an amazing feeling."

Helping to raise awareness is the other way she tries to have an impact.

"I just really want people to know what autism is and how it affects those children's lives. And how them having a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of accepting can go so far, not only for that kid, but for their own children and setting an example for them."

And Colts Cheer gives her the perfect opportunity to do that.

"Especially in Junior Cheer, we talk about what makes you unique and different makes you special, it doesn't make you weird. And just spreading that message – you might have a kid with autism in your classroom, but just because he's different and acts different doesn't mean he isn't intelligent."

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With many autistic kids, it's just the opposite.

"There are kids with autism that are so intelligent, it's almost bad for them because they can't communicate – but they know. A lot of people don't understand that when they act out, so they seem like bad kids. But they're acting out because they don't know how to communicate what they really need. It's really misunderstood."

Caroline is grateful to be able to use the platform of the Colts and the NFL to shine a spotlight on autism and help make a difference for all kids.

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"It's amazing. It absolutely opens doors and starts conversations that otherwise, I would never be able to have," she said. "It makes me so happy that I get to blend both of my passions together."

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