This guest post is by Roberto Carlos Pluma, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into San Diego State University. Roberto 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.
Our character is determined by our reaction to these obstacles, they define us and as we overcome them they make us stronger. I was five years old when I was diagnosed with autism which, for me, impaired my communication and social interactions which also affects my speech. Autism changed my life because it affected my speech. It was a challenge because it took me a while to speak and being able to speak to others. I was able to overcome many of my challenges. Besides being autistic I also have apraxia, which is a speech disability. When I was a young kid, I was very nervous to speak to other people because I was not able to speak clearly. This caused me to be embarrassed in front of others. I was a quiet kid in my class and for my entire childhood.
In order for me to overcome obstacles due to my autism and apraxia I would practice memorizing and pronouncing words correctly and clearly so that other people can understand me. It took me a while but I’m able to speak a bit more clearly than before. However, I still have trouble pronouncing some words, but I’m determined to keep on going and practicing.
I wasn’t able to make friends when I was a kid because I was too nervous to speak to others. However, as I grow older I was able to make friends during middle and high school. My family and friends supported me and encouraged me to reach my goals.
As a teenager I was thrown another obstacle, my mom got married and we moved to a different part of town which meant I would have to attend a new school. Already scared of the new challenges of high school I had to also overcome being the new kid with absolutely no friends or support system other than my mom. During high school, my counselor told me that I might not be able to graduate with a diploma. The counselor did tell me that I could graduate from high school with a certificate of accomplishment, but I was determined to graduate with a high school diploma. My counselor saying this did not deter me and I was determined to get my high school diploma. It took me more time to finish my schoolwork than others but I pushed on. I was able to graduate from high school with a diploma and even with honors.
Obtaining my high school diploma was one of my greatest accomplishments in my life. The reason being is because I was determined to get my diploma and show everyone that I could do the same work that other people can do. In my senior year of high school, a college campus representative came to my school and informed students like me of the great qualities of a community college. I overcame many obstacles that led me to where I am today. Being a first-generation college student, I was highly encouraged by my family to pursue a higher education. After graduating from high school, I went to community college to continue my higher education. I was able to show that I was a hard-working student and determine to pass all of my classes no matter what it takes. I decided to enroll at Miramar College to experience college life and to find a new career path.
I have worked very hard to maintain good grades throughout my educational journey. I was also able to find a newfound interest in history. I am transferring to San Diego State University which will allow me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in history and will provide me with an opportunity to improve my life and become a mentor in my community. The obstacle I must now face is the financial aspect of attending a university, like many things in life I will not allow this or any obstacle to defeat me or my dreams, I will continue working hard to achieve my goals. I want to show both my family and everyone else that, regardless of your challenges, if you put your mind to it then you are sure to accomplish anything you set your goals too.
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.