This guest post is by Jeremy Alan Hoppe, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted and will be attending Adelphi University. Jeremy 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!).
When I was two years old I was diagnosed with high functioning autism. Despite the worries of my parents about what this meant, they pushed through and tried to raise me in the best possible environment they could. Over ten years later, I now am on the cusp of entering college. Many consider it a huge achievement that a person with autism can succeed that far, but personally, I am more intrigued as to why that is such a big achievement. Why is getting into college something many neurotypicals can do, but the majority of autistics cannot?
To understand the situation, it is important to know what autism is. Autism is defined by WebMD as a neurobehavioral condition that often coincides with limited social interaction or communication skills.
All of this knowledge has led me to believe that the main problem autistics face is not autism but rather society’s reaction to the disease. People have acted like autism is something that needs to be “fixed” or “corrected”, when it is not. When pushed to their full potential, some autistic people can be incredibly successful. Some famous people that are believed to have been on the autism spectrum include men like Michelangelo, Mozart, Darwin, and Einstein.
Not only can autistic people succeed, but they can even become people who revolutionize the world. It is difficult to come up with a method of therapy that works with everyone 100% of the time because like other people, every person on the spectrum is different and requires different tactics to succeed. The best comparison I can think of is to view an autistic person similar to a foreign language. It’s different, somewhat confusing and can be frustrating, but it’s not wrong, per say. It just has a different way of meaning the same thing.
Dealing with autism can be tough, especially in a world not fully designed for their strengths. But when cared for and treated right, autistic people can blossom and do great things. Unfortunately, some people have to deal with more problems than they can handle, but some can succeed when put under the right care and nurture. Incredible talents can blossom and go on to affect the world. I realize that me getting into college is an achievement when put next to those who were never able to blossom into who they might have been. I am lucky that I am not one of those people and have been blessed with the unique opportunity college provides. Despite this, I still want to succeed more and prove that autism is not a disorder, but when honed properly, could be used as an incredible advantage in life. I am ready to exceed the expectations society has put on the word autism, and hopefully, I can help others exceed those expectations too.
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.