This guest post is by Antonio Spierto, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into University of Central Florida. Antonio 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!).

Three of the most important parts to myself are my identity, character and loyalty. As a kid, I went through a lot of various experiences that both tested me and made me a much better person for it. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and found it interfered with my social behavior. I saw life differently than others. I have worked very hard to overcome obstacles and have been bullied along the way. But, I have been worked very hard on my social skills and have been able to gain a few friends that have been helpful to me. My past friends and the new ones that I have gained along the way have taught me a valuable lesson that I still hold onto till this day. They taught me to never be a follower; that things will be better when you work hard to make it happen for yourself; and to create your own happiness. This resonates inside of me each day. My past has formed my unique self in the present and bright future.

Along with what has formed my identity, I have had the character to build a strong opinion of myself. As a younger child, I have always aspired to be the best that I can be. I personally chose to not simply conform and be just an ordinary person. I have chosen to be a person who is committed, thoughtful, and loyal. It has always been in my nature to choose a reasonable and hard challenge. I have done this in instances such as school academics, my social life, and games of competition. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to quit. But instead, I stay strongly committed to stick to what I had originally chosen and raise my effort levels up to a higher degree.

I have always worked hard to care for others, which my parents have emphasized me to do. I will provide the following example of how I have done this. One day, my friend whom was drastically stressed over school and was constantly pressured to only bring home good grades was having a hard time with one of her classes. I took it upon myself to sit and listen to her talk about her situation and I had perseverance until she discussed it with me. I was able to simply talk to her, calm her down, and help her think of a way to create a successful plan to deal with improving on her situation for the future. This showed that I’m thoughtful and caring. She appreciated my help immensely and it warmed my heart. This is not easy not an easy task for an Asperger person.

Another example of my character is that I am loyal. It is a trait of mine that I hold dear. Whoever is my friend or an associate in a group will receive all of my respect and loyalty: which is the act of doing anything to support someone emotionally and physically. This allows me to be a good leader. When the time came for me to lead a group, I would make sure that the group stays on task until the end goal is achieved. This can only be achieved through my hard work, effort and loyalty to the group. I have done this at my intern job for my engineering degree at Jupiter Community high school. I plan to use this skill in my future career as a mechanical engineer.

These are but a few qualities that I have that make me a stronger person and helped to build my identity. These traits will remain with me in high school, college and the rest of my life. They are the most positive traits I possess.

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