This guest post is by Noah Georges, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into George Mason University. Noah 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.
Growing up is difficult for any child. Growing up while being on the autism spectrum for me was is a bit more challenging. For one thing, kids with autism tend to have difficulties communicating their problems. I know I did.
To understand my journey, you must first know several things about me. First, I am completely deaf. The only reason I can hear the world around me is a pair of devices called cochlear implants, which are similar to hearing aids. Second, when I was much younger, my mind was a chaotic place. Though I had wants and needs, communicating them was a challenge. Furthermore, a series of doctors prescribed a large number of different medications for me, none of which helped at all. Third, I am and always have been my own person. I made and followed my own rules. This desire for independence often conflicted with my parents’ attempts to regulate my behavior.
My deafness was one of my main problems growing up. Or rather, it was a problem for communicating with other people. Most of the time, I was perfectly content to keep my implants off and enjoy the silence. As a toddler, I’d often take off my implants and enjoy a modicum of peace and quiet in a perpetually noisy household, only for my parents to put them back on; something I still do to this day. But this became an issue whenever I needed to talk to someone, or when someone needed to talk to me. Being autistic, I was very set in my ways, so this problem went unsolved for a time.
My mind is a happy place these days, full of hopes and dreams and bright visions of the future. But that was not always the case. My combination of autism and deafness gave me, from the very beginning, an appreciation for silence and solitude. But the negative effects made it difficult for me to communicate and therefore get my needs and wants met. Having to take an unreasonable number of medications daily also had an impact on the development of my brain.
A challenging problem for my parents was my independence. When I was young, I often tried to do what I wanted when I wanted, much to my parents’ chagrin. Having such a desire for independence inherently meant limited receptiveness for authority and regulation. So when my parents said I had had enough ice cream, I didn’t agree with them, to put it mildly.
After leaving behind most of my prescribed medications and growing a little older and a little wiser, I looked back on this past of mine and saw a lot of things I didn’t like. So I made some changes, mostly to my behavior and attitude towards life. I cut back on processed food and began exercising regularly. I focused a lot more on school and got some pretty awesome grades as a result. I began learning some new skills that will undoubtedly be useful to me as I enter college and prepare for my future job. Finally, I can now choose to adapt to rules and norms without losing my independence.
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.