This guest post is by Colin Bramlage, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted and will be attending Wright State University majoring in Management Information Systems. Colin 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 Colin Bramlage, and I am a student who has autism. Being on the autism spectrum has greatly impacted the way I react to everyday things in life and interact with peers. They have also influenced my behavioral traits; having led to feelings of nervousness and anxiety throughout. I will discuss some behaviors that I myself have and how I react to them in front of other people.
One of the major things that the autism spectrum does to some people is that it causes people like me to have repetitive patterns of unusual behaviors. For the case of me, one of these behaviors include worrying about the weather. For example, whenever snow or very cold weather is predicted on a particular night, I immediately FREAK OUT because school will be cancelled or delayed. I feel this way because if school gets delayed or cancelled frequently throughout the year, we may be required to make up school days. This has thankfully not occurred during my time at school. My nervousness, however, causes me to constantly think about it, and I usually wake up really early and go sit in front of my computer constantly checking weather forecasts every day. As a result of my autism diagnosis, I feel that weather is my number one concern because of my distaste for precipitation to fall during the day. My constant anxiety with weather has made me run into conflict with my parents, which often results in complaining constantly
Another unusual behavior I have is that most of the time, whenever I want to think about something, I would get up and walk randomly and weirdly at times. This is because whenever something important or crucial gets in my head, I would relieve myself by walking around and thinking about it. This behavior is caused by my autism spectrum disorder because I lose focus of what I am doing such as homework or studying, and get myself wandered around. This is usually the result of me watching a video or reading something online, it has the unfortunate outcome of letting me wander around thinking about that subject. This concerns my parents because they think that I am “walking weird” and not making sense with my actions.
In addition to autism spectrum, I also have a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss for my entire life. This means that I cannot hear on both ears and have permanent hearing loss. This has affected me because without the assistance of my cochlear implant, I can barely hear any noise around my environments. Also, at school, I cannot become successful hearing my teachers if I am not sitting at a convenient location in the classroom. However, I do have some accommodations that I make use of to be successful in the classroom with my hearing loss. For example, all of my teachers wear a microphone that helps me hear in the classroom. On a related note, I use preferential seating, which basically is allowing me to choose where to sit that is the most convenient for me to hear the teacher. These two accommodations are the most critical in assisting me to hear the teacher and be successful at the same time due to my hearing loss.
In conclusion, autism spectrum has had a tremendous impact on the way I behave and interact among others. There is one thing to be clear on though: working to improve these behaviors is possible in the long-term, but it is very difficult to do so because of my Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I anticipate that in my future education and beyond, I will be able to tell people that have similar challenges of my disabilities and how it impacts others, so that they will understand their disabilities as well.
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.