This guest post is by Spencer Zaugg, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into BYU among several other universities. Spencer 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.
I have ADD and autism. My biggest challenge has been learning to focus and overcome ADD related obstacles. When I was in 2nd grade, my parents noticed I was struggling to keep up on some of my papers. They talked with my teacher, who indicated I seemed to be having a hard time focusing on what was being said. After consulting with a doctor, medication was recommended. I take a pill to help me focus every morning but that is only part of how I have learned to focus on school. Even if you can focus, you are not going to focus on things you do not want to focus on. I had to learn to love reading, learning, and school. I have had to deal with bad handwriting as one of my challenges and have figured out how to type rapidly in order to communicate effectively to my teachers. I convinced myself that school is fun, and I started to realize that it really IS fun, because it is fun to learn. I learned that if you have a more positive attitude, just about anything you do will be better and more enjoyable because of it.
I have also had to learn to be more social, because I am not a very social person, but I have learned to not be shy when I need to talk to people or have questions. I am kind-of an introvert, but not to the extreme that I will try avoiding talking to people altogether, at least not anymore. That is part of my autism. I used to sit alone at lunch, because I just wanted to be by myself, and I would also not look people in the eyes. My Grandma challenged me to look people in the eyes when I talk to them and write their names down and what we talked about every day, and each month she would give me money for doing this, proportional to the number of people I talked to, and the number of different people and different names I had written down. I got rich, and I got into the habit of looking people in the eyes when I talk to them. I made some good friends who I hang out with at lunch and that helps me too. I have learned to be more social. I will sit with friends at lunch, and I look people in the eyes. I do have trouble remembering names, but a lot of people I know do too, I have come to enjoy being with people and talking with them.
The activity I am personally most proud of is my eagle scout project. The goal of an eagle scout project is to find a need in the community that relates to your interests that you can fulfill, I chose to organize a book drive for Ronald McDonald House, because I love to read. While funding does help organizations like Ronald McDonald House to take care of sick children and the families of sick children in their time of need, many people forget the importance of entertainment such as movies and books during hard times. When I read, I can forget my problems for a while and I hope others can get the same joy. In this book drive, I was able to collect hundreds of books and deliver them to the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City for the Children and families who stay there during hospital treatments. I hope that the books help ease their burdens during their time there, and the burdens of all who go there for years to come. I am committed to being part of similar community organizations so that I can serve others, as others have often served me.
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.