This guest post is by Zane Russell a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into and is deciding between Northeastern University and Oregon State University. Zane 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.
At the young age of four I stood critiquing an amalgamation, a grotesque pile of twisted train rail, rusted car chassis, and tar-caked oil drums, completely conquered by thick buffalo grass. I was enthralled by the perfection and subsequent chaos this scrap pile posed. An incessant urge for sameness and perfection had brimmed my daily life. By fourth grade I had discovered a way to live with the incongruity of the world. If I touched something once I had to touch it again. It wasn’t just a tendency, but a deep-rooted discomfort in the face of anything uneven. This continued for years until I began to understand how I can utilize creativity in the face of my discomfort.
What drove me to repeat monotonous tasks in search of order and simplicity when I viewed beauty in a defiled pile of metal? I realized that my tendencies were not centered around the pursuit of order in life, but rather the urge to create order and perfection around me. However, I was never put into an environment which allowed me to integrate this pursuit, only being able to express it in a very linear sense. The first time I was able to fully express this was at DaVinci Arts Middle School. This school presented the first environment in which I was free to succeed based on my own creative ability. It presented situations which coerced me to adapt to my strengths and experience what I was capable of. I began to learn how I can channel my creative impulses into mediums I find interest in. I learned that with creative redirection I can make even the most boring and monotonous assignments fully investing explorations of possibility.
If I was expected to write a theoretical letter to President Lincoln, something I find very boring, I would build interest in it through researching how I might have written the letter at the time, what dialects I might use, and then compose the letter based on this. If I was assigned the task of creating an intriguing logo design for an ice cream parlor in Digital Media, I would invest myself in the task by researching a new design theory and aspect ratio applicable to the current logo project. Through redirection I invested myself in integrating this order-focused creativity first into art, then digital media, eventually leading me to the world of entrepreneurship. From this point people around me began to see my autism as a worthy addition to my person, instead of an obstacle constantly holding me back.
My strive towards integration and understanding empower me to push ever further towards realizing my goals. I will always be searching for ways to further empower and perceive myself. Finding the right college is an important step in my journey towards self-understanding; a school in which I can fully utilize my perseverance and dedication, bringing with me the tools necessary to enhance and contribute to a brand-new community. I want to return to that now empty field 20 years later and reflect back on my critique. Reflect back on it not as a confusing incongruity between my self-understanding and my tendencies, but as confirmation that I had viewed that amalgamation for what it truly was; a horrendous conglomeration, iterated by the natural elements, perfected through trial and error, its unexpected, natural beauty, lost in time.
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.