This guest post is by Christopher Lecain, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Ocean County Community College. Christopher is applying for the Spring 2018 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 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 Christopher. I am a high school student trying to finish the last patches to move on to college while at the same time using autism to reach heights. Autism is a diagnosis that will alternate a person’s abilities in social, physical, and mental abilities. Some autistic people have trouble with movements, social speaking, and mind abilities. Each autistic person has strengths and weaknesses. We are different, not less. A famous quote from Temple Grandin, one of the famous people I’ve met, yet I didn’t recognize her as a famous figure when I first met her.

The days I started to remember were around 2005, due to me not remembering my impact when I was born I got self-understanding senses around when everyone treated me normally, and I don’t remember any special moments. The actions with my family today seem no different. A thing I really liked was video games and cartoons, but such to a point where I use them to avoid reality and social actions. I found myself to enjoy solitary rather then force a reputation that if cared enough can cause emotional damage and stress. I was bugged out by details that used to make my brain notice them greatly.

Like if I notice I have the shame colored shirt as another person, or if I used to get a peanut butter sandwich with a juice box and a box of raisins but then I got one without a box of raisins. If a light was making noises, if I heard clear words from other people when I was trying to listen to other kids talk. These things would always just press on my head constantly, something different and unusual. You can see as a kid I was so scared and angry at these. I knew if things stayed the same and didn’t have details my brain would notice I wouldn’t have anything to be in thought about, so I would complain and cry over differences because I didn’t know how to handle them and saw them as something that makes me feel not normal. People thought I was being rude and not accepting of other things. In truth I was just dealing with the feeling I didn’t recognize breaking a pattern.

If something were different my mind would just focus on it so much, and I couldn’t tell what to do but demand the change to stop because I couldn’t handle the focusing on details. Therefore, I liked games and shows, I knew how they would play out. It would sound like my entire life would be liking the same things, but I prefer the differences now. In life I find patterns and notice mistakes, and either realize their meaning or see what went wrong for corrections. My entire life has felt so challenging, getting to understand this power inside me, that I once thought was a curse, or a normal issue locked in me. Now that I see the ending light of my school life I now feel prepared for what’s to come. The college pay, the jobs I will find and do, the life I will live, the people I will meet, the struggles and fights I must learn to overcome, all were nothing more than scary dreams due to me not knowing how I could survive. Now that I can find purpose inside my capabilities and realizing what I have makes me stronger then I ever dreamed of I feel complete. I now walk the path created by Faces 4 Autism. A non-profit foundation that gives autistic people chances and support with in their lives. They make projects created by and served to autistic people. I learned how the world and its people can see and accept my abilities. They don’t teach me to hide it and keep it locked away, they tell me to be myself and help the world around me with what makes me myself.

The steps of my journey have been told to many people learning about autism. I was selected as a keynote speaker for Asbury park. A school of children and teachers who were interested in autism and wanted to take notice and action to it. I never knew my life could be some inspiring tale. Most autistic people never understand their own power or recover from fearing it. I however learned to live a normal life. I, a common student to Barnegat High School, went to Dare to Dream rallies at Stockton college to learn about my true colors. I somehow was the symbol of my own school for my autistic struggles and accomplishes for having an issue been flipped upside down to walk back on the path of the average enjoying citizen. I sometimes just remember what I have done to make it where I stand, to think I never can back down from any trouble. If I didn’t stop at having my brain beep at details every second I won’t stop to most problems.

All I’m saying is my life has been me trying to run from myself, and when I stopped and looked at it in naked truth, I found it wasn’t bad at all. I matured and understood its own strength. If someone is diagnosed with autism I see that not as a problem for those with high-functioning autism but a rock full of glimmering rare and unique ore. The rock can be smashed or perfectly grown and harvested to its best level. A power of unnatural uses will look scary and be nearly impossible to understand, but if anything, autism needs to be grown with, like all mature traits it can be only learned from living and growing up. Autism for me isn’t a problem, it’s a power that one day will be the greatest power a person can yield.

-Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.- (2)

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.

We’d also appreciate if you could start a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here