This guest post is by Dalton Joseph Black, a young man on the autism spectrum. Dalton 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!).

My name is Dalton Joseph Black and I’m writing this essay to explain my background, experiencing autism, reasons for applying to college, and my lifelong goal. I have just graduated from Mt. San Jacinto Community College with two Associate Degrees (Associate of Arts Liberal Arts – Social & Behavioral Sciences and Associate of Arts Liberal Arts – Arts, Humanities & Communication). Since finishing my degree I have been accepted into University of California Fullerton to pursue a degree in Humanities and Social Science with a focus on Sociology. I am looking forward to using my degree to assist in better understanding and assisting other individuals who are diagnosed with autism.

I was born on December 15, 1993, on a military naval base in Japan. I have two older siblings, my sister Constance Ann and brother Dean. My mother states that I was diagnosed with autism at two years of age. My parents were told by the attending physician that they should just put me into a home that specialized in caring for children with special needs because I would not be able to perform simple tasks without assistance. Tasks such as feeding myself, potty training, basic communication skills, and the ability to be affectionate. My parents who raised two other children were not only offended but determined that these predictions did not come true. With the support of family, friends, and services dedicated to helping children and families of Autistic individuals I can say we not only proved that doctor wrong but made a proud statement about individuals diagnosed with Autism.

My interest in Sociology and group behavior stemmed from observing others while in school and trying to better understand my place in society, for example, how people respond toward perceived attractiveness, caste systems, governments, and ideological movements. Ultimately, better understanding group behavior can assist not only myself but others who have been diagnosed with Autism in helping society adapt and accommodate our needs. Especially since diagnoses for Autism and the spectrum has increased it is important that people who are living with the diagnoses can provide feedback that can help future diagnosed individuals successfully navigate life. This interest really emerged from how I was treated in the public-school system growing up.

My public-school experiences were not exactly enjoyable because teachers did not have the knowledge or tools to properly accommodate students with autism. My grades, in addition to my perceived self-worth, to suffer during my childhood. I was the equivalent of an anomaly for most of my teachers who were used to dealing with a largely docile class structure and consequently finding myself relegated to special-needs classrooms if teachers could not successfully isolate me from peers first. Homeschooling became my overall experience past sixth grade and the perceived self-worth improved because my grades improved, thus allowing me to successfully graduate. My diagnoses provides me a reason to successfully complete college and altogether strive toward something greater than the self.

My lifelong goal of providing a way to better understand group dynamics and autism would be impossible without the help of others such as my family, friends, and others I meet along the way. Thomas Edison is credited as stating he’s failed thousands of times creating the light bulb but choosing to not give up allowed that one successful light bulb to light up the world we know today. For those reading this, I hope you enjoyed what I wrote and these words have provided something valuable.

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.