This guest post is by Nate Clor a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Daemen College. Nate 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.
Hello. My name is Nate Clor. I was diagnosed with autism at age 2. I was told I would probably not speak, walk, write, read and that I certainly would not attend a typical school. My parents were told to start looking into institutional options for me. From that day, my parents refused to accept that outcome for me. Since then, I worked extremely hard on things many take for granted. For example, going outside the house was difficult. Paying attention to one thing for more than a few seconds was a challenge. Following multi-step commands was impossible. I could not tie my own shoes or dress myself. As I said, I worked hard on basic things and eventually started to work on academics. I have had therapists, aides and counselors my entire life. It seemed like some of them were part of the family! So, I worked. I worked so hard everyday because my primary goal was to go to school like regular kids. I had no other focus but to be ready for school.
I started kindergarten on time. I had an aide and plenty of therapies, but I started school and I loved it. My work was modified a bit, but I made sure to always do my homework and be prepared. After school ended for the day, I would go home and get additional therapy in the house for another 3 or 4 hours. I never stopped working hard.
I went through elementary school without any problem. I went to middle school and did really well. Some semesters I made honor roll or high honor roll. I really enjoyed math and science. English was a struggle for me with all the rules. I was now ready for high school and I was so excited.
High school was a big change. Courses were harder. My work was no longer modified. My aide was there less. The school was so big and I felt stress for the first time. My parents got me a tutor and I would stay after school for additional help. My grades were average and I worked really hard. I loved it though. I loved everything about being there and learning. I felt like people always told what I could not do and I just ignored them and worked harder.
High school was interesting. I became a leader for the anti-bullying program because I was bullied, a lot and I did not like it. So I began to help younger kids and other kids with bullying issues. I also became involved in soccer, baseball and bowling. Turns out that I am a pretty good athlete. When there was a chance to do work study, I did it and worked in multiple places to get work experience. When there was a chance to volunteer at the senior center and in the library, I did it. There were so many fun and exciting opportunities so I did as much as I could and loved all of it.
In high school, the doubt did not stop. I was told I would not graduate because I could not pass the regent exams. I was told I could not go to college because I could not graduate. I responded to this the same way I respond to all doubters, I rejected that. My parents helped get me assistance at home. I studied all the time. Eventually, I passed all my regent exams — even English! I made honor roll and high honor roll several times.
I applied to my dream school, Daemen, for early admission. They accepted me. It was amazing. We had a big party and celebration. My dad asked me how I felt to achieve all my goals. I never thought about it really. I just think that now I have new goals and need to work as hard to achieve those.
My parents say I inspire people to achieve more than they think they can. That I am example of someone who was always told no and did not accept that. I have worked with children with disabilities in various programs. I have always told them they can achieve more. Wherever they are is not where they will be. They can be more. That is how I will make a difference in college and beyond. I am studying Early Childhood Education – Special Needs. I will help other kids like me to be the best they can be. I will continue to help people achieve their goals.
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.