This guest post is by Alexia Wilson, a young woman on the autism spectrum who was diagnosed with autism at 18-months-old and now has been accepted into University of Southern Indiana. Alexia is applying for the Spring 2020 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 and how to apply for my scholarship here. While many nonprofits have hundreds of volunteers fundraising for their nonprofit, I’m just one guy trying to make a big difference for people with autism via this program. With that I hope you will take a minute to consider making a donation to our scholarship fund here so we can keep it running moving forward (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 am Alexia Wilson, the jokester, or the 19-year-old who never takes anything seriously. I prefer to think of myself as my own person, which is something people don’t like, especially when I stick out.

I was bullied throughout elementary, middle, and high school. In elementary school, I didn’t really think much of it. I just wanted Little Ceasers Pizza Thursdays, new books from the library, and a barbie doll. I couldn’t care less about what others thought of me. In middle school, I was pushed into the sides of lockers and walls, called a SPED (which is worse than ‘retard’), called fugly, and my homework was stolen the few times that I finished it. I was already going through extreme mental, emotional, and physical abuse at home from my so-called father.

I managed to get pulled out of my extreme depression by a little girl being born, by the name of Heidi Verna. She adored me since the day she was born; I went to see her the day she was born and when I held her, she looked up at me and smiled (she couldn’t see me, but that didn’t matter).

High school was a little better. Of course, there were the bullies who ripped my homework up, and then the bullies who walked past, smacked their wrists against their chests, made noises, and then said ‘oh I’m autistic’ every time they saw me walk by. This ended up not mattering because I had a point in life; I was Heidi Verna’s role model.

Now that I’m 19 years old, I believe that the phrase ‘grow up’ doesn’t have a singular meaning. I went through a lot of bullying and abuse, but that never will stop me from being myself. Some people call me immature and silly, but my mother says that I’m just ‘me’ and that is who I’m meant to be. I jump in puddles; I sing to the Single Ladies song while eating Oreos at 3am. I put zombie makeup on and run to my friends’ house at midnight to scare them. I pull pranks, make jokes to see others laugh, paint, color, read books, and run into my mothers’ room randomly and demand hugs. Some people tell me to ‘grow up’, but what does that really mean? Get up at 8am every morning, work a job to 5pm, eat dinner, read a boring novel, go to bed, and repeat? That’s not ‘growing up’, that sounds like a plan to give yourself depression. I’ve been told to ‘grow up and not tell jokes’ because ‘adults don’t tell jokes. I know that’s wrong because my mother tells jokes (though my jokes are way better).

The phrase ‘grow up’ doesn’t have a real meaning. The ideas of growing up don’t seem fun to me either. I’m all about making sure life is worth living. I’m attending a University to find my adventure, not to work a 9-5 job at a desk. I try to see the bright side of things, and when I can’t, I make something up for Heidi. I want an adventure. I want a job worth living for. Most of all, I want to be a writer so I can show others that growing up is whatever you decide it means.

Follow Kerry’s journey on Facebook, his Facebook Fan Page, & Instagram!

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.