This guest post is by Peter Moore, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted and will be attending The Ohio State University majoring in Health Sciences. Peter is applying for the Spring 2019 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference. You can read more about the organization and how to apply for our scholarship here. You can help our scholarship program continue to help these students by making a donation to our scholarship fund here (the majority of our scholarship program is ran through donors from our community such as yourself so no matter if you could donate anything, whether it be $5 anywhere up to $5,000 it would be making a difference!).
I found myself wearing a white laboratory coat, standing in front of The Ohio State University’s Evans Laboratory. It took me a moment to focus in because I couldn’t believe I was actually there in front of such a monumental building. Famous scientists took their first steps in this building, and I could not wait to start mine.
You see, my life’s journey appeared normal on the outside; however, inside, it was a puzzle, and I struggled to put together the pieces for 17 years. When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was told that my life would be a constant struggle of vexation through smells, crowded rooms, and loud noises. My parents decided they would put me into the mainstream life, sending me to a regular school, not alerting anyone to my disabilities, because on the outside I was very high functioning. No one could sense my inner uniqueness, only I did. Having to cope through the day like an ordinary child, functioning normally while worrying about my disability, helped me to contractually manage myself as I thrived on order. Every day I would look forward to the thirty minutes a day where I could solve puzzles through experimentation, where I was truly myself, science class.
For someone like me, shoving my life into a small box, normalizing myself consistently, science became my out from this void. It became my safe haven. I could go to this class and know that every part of me would truly be embraced, not to mention, I was pretty good at it. I continued this love through high school, taking advanced classes, and even doubling up on sciences because I enjoyed it so much. I was presented the opportunity to conduct research in a college lab, where I gained valuable experience working in a mature setting. For me, science wasn’t just my way to build my resume or my social event for the day, it was a place where I could be entirely organized and have ultimate control, and this was something I had sought after my whole life. I could escape the unsolved puzzles that controlled my life, and for a slight glimpse, get to solve one.
Throughout my childhood, I struggled to interact with people and share conversations; I constantly felt judged and out of place. One way I broke this shell was through service. I started volunteering at the Run the Race center, an afterschool center for underprivileged children. The first time I entered The Center I was very nervous and expected dirty looks and questions such as, “What are you doing here?” Instead, the kids were incredibly welcoming and helped me fit in. I remember meeting Wayne; he gave me a handshake and let me join his team. The relationships I formed with the kids at the Run the Race Center helped me realize how much more exciting life is with social interaction. Making jokes, offering advice, telling stories, and asking questions have shaped into a well-rounded, respected individual. Witnessing my personality bloom, despite having aspergers, has inspired me to push myself even harder in life, and I am very excited to begin the next chapter of my life, college.
Science and service have greatly assisted me in managing my autism. Through these extracurriculars, I have accomplished so much; furthermore, I want my future to involve both of these aspects. I plan to study Health Sciences/pre-medicine at The Ohio State University; I will then attend medical school and become an orthopaedic surgeon. This vocation allows me to do what I love, science, but also help others and save lives. Growing up on the autism spectrum, I have had to put in twice the effort and work extra hard, and I am determined and committed to accomplishing my goals.
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help us continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.
Also, consider having Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!
We’d also appreciate if you could take a minute to create a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here.