This guest post is by Stanley Omietanski, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into Drexel, Widener, Temple and Penn State University where he’ll be majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Stanley is applying for the Spring 2020 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 and how to apply for my scholarship here. 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 the video below to see why this cause is important to me. 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 here.
By far the biggest obstacle I have had in my life happened at a very young age, and was one that took a very long time to overcome. When I started kindergarten I was diagnosed Autistic. This was the beginning of a very long and hard road. School was very difficult for me both environmentally and socially. I had a very difficult time just being able to function in a classroom setting, as well as having to socialize with my fellow students. Classmates were very quick to judge, and make fun of me. I had very few friends, and my memories of elementary school are not good. I had a hard time sitting still and paying attention. Writing and reading were very difficult for me, and group activities were impossible. I was easily distracted, and by the end of the day exhausted. The school provided resources, which helped, but in order to receive them I was pulled out of the classroom regularly throughout the day. I had to work on my weaknesses while trying to keep up with the regular classroom work. At home my mother was taking me to many different appointments as well. I had work at home to complete, on top of school work, to try to help me get better.
As a young child I had evaluation after evaluation to complete. I spent several evenings a week at doctor appointments, worked extra on weekends, and completed extra work my mother created in the summer time to try to keep up with my school work. My mother realized during elementary school that I could not read, however; the school did not agree with her. It wasn’t until 5th grade that a school evaluator realized that I could not read. My mother continued to send me to specialists and they discovered that my eyes were not teaming or tracking at all.
In middle school I spent a year in eye therapy while working hard at school to improve my reading fluency. I also worked at reducing the amount of support in the classroom, and became more involved in school. In 8th grade I took on a lead role in the school play. By the end of middle school I moved toward less support and I graduated with the Presidential Award. In high school I transitioned to honors classes and I am currently holding a 3.9 GPA. I currently have a great group of friends. I was vice president of the science club last year and this year I was voted president.
Throughout this journey I have realized several things. First anything is possible if you are willing to put in the hard work. Things don’t always change overnight. Some things require patience and setting goals both short and long term. A good friend is to be valued. You can’t let a label determine your future, you have the power to overcome any obstacle no matter how bad it may seem. I also try to pay it forward by helping other boys like myself who I see struggling in school by being their friend.
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.