This guest post is by Jared Taylor Willkians, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into the University of Hawaii. Jared 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 have issues with paying attention and with my temper. Ok, so that’s out of the way.
Actually, I have a lot of experience with autism as my mother, her mother and my legal father all are on the autism spectrum too. It can make for an unusual family gathering to say the least.
Autism can be many things. For me, it is both a blessing and a challenge. That may sound like a cliche, but I am serious about it being a blessing. Autism gives me a certain degree of competence in some areas. For instance, I find I can pay more attention to detail than most people. I can also write with greater ease because I can become obsessed with getting my viewpoint down on paper and I rarely give up when I find myself struggling with expression.
Of course, I also noted that autism can be a challenge. I find it hard to pay attention to certain subjects such as math and science because the abstractions in those subjects don’t fit the categories of thought and feeling that are hard-wired into my brain. Once, when I was a little kid, I threw a major tantrum because a store I wanted to enter was still locked even though it was five past the appointed hour. I simply couldn’t comprehend the rules of the world and the way numbers worked.
I also have trouble controlling my emotions in that I get easily frustrated that others don’t understand MY rules.
I have been interested in writing since I was in middle school. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I used to write online fan fiction about internet horror stories. In one scene, I inserted myself into the story as a character who befriended a mansion full of people who have committed crimes. Not good, right? Probably not, but at least I learned how to improve my idea of what fiction can be.
Challenge or blessing, autism has shaped who I am, even if I didn’t even know I had it for a long time. Of course, Hollywood and the media have distorted what autism actually is, portraying us as either super-geniuses or totally withdrawn. In my experience, I am neither of these things, no matter how much I like to believe I am the former. I am on the higher end of the autism spectrum, I suppose, but I still deal with periods of dissociation and an insistence on people following my rules.
Fortunately, I have gotten both of these things under control for the most part. And for that, I want to thank those who work with autistic kids, as well as my therapist, who helped me wrap my brain around the way the world works. I also need to thank my teachers and my long-suffering grandparents who never gave up on raising me.
It’s sometimes hard to be autistic. And it is a wonderful challenge as well.
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.