This guest post is by Kameron Thayer, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Aurora University. Kameron 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.
Can I ask for a favor? 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 with a small donation (just asking for $3 today, equal to your daily cup of coffee) here.
I often thought “why do I have to have autism?” It took me a long time to accept my abilities instead of my disabilities. Sometimes I felt that my mom had to explain to people about me and my sister was embarrassed of me. I got mad at myself a lot for not being “normal.” Now I don’t care what people say or think. I am who I am and that is a good thing. I have one best friend who totally understands me and is more like a brother to me than a best friend. I know I can always count on him. I also know I can count on support from my family.
It wasn’t easy to get to a place where I felt comfortable with who I am. I don’t even think I am completely there yet. For example, I used to think I was stupid and I would always apologize for doing stupid things. Now, I think those things are not a big deal anymore especially because I learned from those situations. I know I am smart in many ways and in many subjects. One thing I have learned is that I need to push myself outside my comfort zone. I fight not to do social activities and then when I go places and do new things, I often enjoy them. I am still working on this.
This is a barrier that is very difficult for me to control myself. I have accomplished many things growing up, even though I didn’t think I could, especially because I felt out of my comfort zone of playing video games all day long. One activity that I enjoy and am very proud of is that I am a certified scuba diver. My dad went through the process with me so that we can have an interest in common and can then spend more time together doing something we both love! We hope to become volunteers at a place called DiveHeart as well. We would be helping others with autism and/or other physical disabilities enjoy the water. It is like a therapy for people with sensory issues. Since I love animals and mostly dinosaurs, I also volunteered at the Field Museum in Chicago.
My mom was apprehensive a little because I had to take a train all the way downtown to the city and walk over to the museum and do the same thing back home by myself. Guess what? I did it and loved it until the pandemic shut that option down. I also had a job before the pandemic. I was the manager of a pool at the high school that I attended. I really enjoyed having a job to earn money and grow my responsibility! Needless to say, it took me and my family awhile to understand and accept this diagnosis, but we all also embraced the diagnosis.
My mom is an educator and she is my biggest advocate. She is even involved with a college that I am going to attend in the Fall to help them get a new program for autism students to be successful at college up and running by volunteering and promoting the program. This brings me the feeling of hope. I am one step closer to my dreams of graduating from college and maybe becoming a curator or paleontologist. Maybe one day, I will actually meet someone and get married and have children, which currently I never thought would be possible. Spreading information and educating the public about autism is going to lead to more acceptance of diversity and compassion of humans and can really change the world.
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.