This guest post is by Nezell Martin, a young woman on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Eastern Florida State College. Nezell 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.
When I was seventeen I was diagnosed with Aspergers. I did not know how to react at the time. When my mom had told me she wanted to take me to a psychiatrist because she thought I had Aspergers, I was slightly offended. Not because of the idea that I could have autism, but because I had been asking to go to a psychiatrist for my depression and it seemed as if she was ignoring all of my problems and claiming that a disorder that sounded completely unrelated was the issue.
I believe a lot of people would react the way I did for the simple reason that most of us do not really know what autism is. We are given such negative and exaggerated examples of the disorder, so many of us will go most of our lives without realizing that we have the slightest possibility of being autistic. I myself attributed many of my symptoms to possibly having ADHD. When i took the time to get to know what Aspergers really was and how it effected me, it shined a light on a lot of past memories.
Today, I have a huge special interest in cute things and Chinese culture. These interests started when I was in first grade. I was often picked on for being into childish things despite only being around eight years old. People found it weird that I spent so much time talking about China and spending my money on stuffed animals. I would also get made fun of for being so sensitive and crying a lot. I had only a small group of friends, those whom I still cherish today, but it was incredibly hard to get through my childhood because of it.
When it was time for me to go to middle school, we decided to try homeschooling. I absolutely hated the change. I had even fewer friends now because I was not good a keeping in contact with them and I did not know how to make friends in my neighborhood. I spend even more time to myself than I already did and because of that the constant thought put into my head from being bullied so much caught up to me and I became extremely depressed.
Even so, being be myself a lot, I took the time to teach myself to draw. I was obsessed with storytelling at the time and wanted to write and illustrate my own story. When I later got my diagnosis, I realized that I did not have to think of it in such a negative light and could make something good out of it.
I want to write a story about a girl like me who has challenges with Aspergers. The story would be about how she goes from being secluded and alone to finding a supporting and encouraging friend group. I hope that other kids like me would be able to relate the girl in my book and that the story would also be able to show what having autism is really like, instead of the negative stereotype often given.
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.