This guest post is by Nicholas. John. Kruchten a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into East Carolina University. Nicholas 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. I’m trying to make this nonprofit self-sufficient so I can make this my full-time job supporting the special needs community and would appreciate you taking a minute before reading on to watch this video below and subscribing to our Youtube page here to get to learn more about the work we do in the community.
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 here.
The date is 2006 the month and day I don’t remember as I would have been around 6 years old at the time, me and my mother are driving away from Kentucky to Wisconsin for medical testing because at the time I had been suffering from severe acid reflex and refused to eat, unable to get an answer or any kind of effective treatment my mother and I were forced to find answers somewhere else, my mother asked her brother for help because of his connection with an organization that had experience with such problems, it was here in Wisconsin that I would be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was then able to receive supports to help me with living everyday life.
We did try to get me tested and diagnosed in Kentucky but many times we were often refused because I did not “look” or “act” like someone with autism despite the fact we had medical documents from another state proving that I indeed had autism
Schools were even worse because many staff members and teachers were unaware as to what autism was. This experience continued even in other states that we moved to such as Virginia and North Carolina.
It wasn’t until around 2015 when I was in my second year of middle school that life would become easier. In my second year there was a middle school that had an HFA program for students with autism, helping them understand and work better in schools, unlike the previous schools that I went to that did not have this. In my time I was able to grow as a person and become very successful in school finally being able to learn more in-depth about subjects such as science, history, math, & more. This was an opportunity that had not been available to me very often in other schools in the past. As my time passed I got to know many of the people around me and become good friends with them, a couple of whom I am still good friends with to this day.
When I first arrived in High School I thought that my time there would become boring long and miserable and I didn’t have an idea as to what I was going to do, little did I know that these next 4 years would end up being the most wonderful, happy, tragic, and sad that I would ever experience. It all starts at my open house where I ended up meeting my teachers and my HFA teacher, she ended up introducing me into the amazing world that was known as robotics and the amazing robotics team that I would be a member of for every year of my High school experience.
It was in that time as a member of the robotics team that I truly got to feel like there was somewhere that I was welcomed and could belong to as a person and not something lesser than a human, giving me something to live for, something that I did not have before joining robotics. In my third year, I was nominated for one of the most prestigious award a student could get, it was called the FIRST Deans award.
Unfortunately, I was unable to win the award, but I was grateful and happy that my team decided to choose me as their nominee. It made me feel like I was welcomed on to the team. Inspired by students who were like me along with others, we worked to make robotics and our school more welcoming and inclusive to people like me with autism and other similar diagnoses leading to us becoming chairmen’s finalists at the world championship in Houston TX. Outside of robotics, however, my life started to change very quickly, my mother had decided to get a divorce and we moved.
At first it seemed to be going well for her and me, but then the situation started to change.
Everything started changing when my 4th year started, there were additional family related-issues. I rejoined into robotics with it being one of the few places left that I felt welcomed, but things were different as many members graduated. Our goal of making robotics more welcoming and inclusive was still a very big part of who we were, and we made large grounds with founding the POP alliance a group of robotics teams that worked together to make the world of robotics feel more welcoming to people with autism and other disorders.
Join us for our Free Workshop “The Transition To Adulthood For Those With Autism” on 4/30 at 8PM where I’ll be talking about topics such as our autism scholarship program – Register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vofL2kFjRBCSHGJ5JcfyVA
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.