This guest post is by Abbey Bentley, a young woman on the autism spectrum who is currently attending East Tennessee State University. Abbey is applying for the Spring 2021 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization here.
I hope you can support my nonprofit like I’m trying to support these students with scholarship aid for college. Learn more on how you can help our cause with a small donation (just asking for $3 today, equal to your daily cup of coffee) here.
Batman is a superhero that most people are familiar with. He is an orphan billionaire in Gotham City who uses his immense fortune to build gadgets that he uses to fight criminals. He operates outside the law to capture these criminals and tends to keep himself isolated. However, he does have a small circle of confidants. For example, Commissioner James Gordon is the police commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department who assists Batman in fighting crime. The odd thing about Batman and Gordon’s relationship is that they were not always on the same side.
Commissioner Gordon saw Batman as a criminal himself, breaking the law even if he was trying to help people. Batman saw Commissioner Gordon as an obstacle in his plans, preventing Batman from saving the world in his own unique way. Once Commissioner Gordon truly witnessed the good in Batman and understood why Batman fights crime outside the law, he became Batman’s ally. This gave Commissioner Gordon the opportunity to help Batman in his heroic exploits, such as giving him information about a villain that he’s tracking, sending police backup to arrest the villain that Batman catches, and even defending Batman at the police department when the other officers wanted Batman arrested for vigilante activity.
As a child, I was a lot like Batman. I did a lot of unconventional things that no one understood why, whether it was laying my blanket out and pretending it was sand on a beach or copying scenes from movies using my stuffed animals. However, not all of my odd behavior was so cute and harmless. For example, I went with my mother and some friends to a water park when I was child. Everyone else wanted to ride a group raft ride, but I was too scared. I thought the ride would be too fast and that being in a raft would give me less control while riding the slide. When my mother insisted that we ride it, I panicked and started crying and flailing. My mother thought I was trying to be defiant.
Like Commissioner Gordon, my mom and dad were not exactly on my side in the beginning. Even though they loved me, they assumed that I was intentionally being disobedient. However, after I was officially diagnosed with Aspergers, everything changed. There was finally a diagnosis to understand more about my strengths and challenges. Finding out that I had Aspergers Syndrome was a challenge for me, like Batman’s challenge of feeling responsible for the city of Gotham. It made me feel like we were both outcasts.
After he put on the mask, his life would never be the same. After I found out about my Aspergers, my life was never the same, either. I would always think of myself as “not normal.” That’s not the way my parents saw it, though. They were my Commissioner Gordon. They finally understood my odd behavior. Why did I cry when I heard fireworks? Because the noise was too loud and scary to me. Why did I refuse to go on roller coasters and other amusement park rides? Because I was sensitive to the speed of the rides. When they learned there was a reason for my behavior, they started to try to understand it. They tried to give me information about how the world around me works and what rules I needed to follow.
Like Commissioner Gordon, they defended my actions and would not let anyone say that I was not necessarily behaving badly. For example, when my teachers would say that my “bad behavior” was because of “their bad parenting,” they would educate my teachers about my diagnosis. When they found out about my Aspergers, they kept loving me as I am and tried to prepare me to make a life for myself in a world that, in my opinion, I would never understand. I am so lucky to have a mom and dad that never gave up on me.
I am Batman and I am so thankful to have my Commissioner Gordons.
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.