This guest post is by Nazhir Carter, a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted and is attending Prairie View A&M University studying Music. Nazhir 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 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.
When life throws you lemons, make Orange juice. Adapting wisely to adversity will leave people wondering, how did you do that? I am Nazhir Carter, a Senior at The Colony High School. At the age of 6, I was thrown the lemons that began my journey. I entered what has become the biggest challenge of my life when I was diagnosed with autism. I quickly learned what it meant to feel different. I stuttered, I shook objects uncontrollably in my face, I had sensory issues, I was socially awkward to say the least, but I never bothered anyone. Despite keeping to myself, people treated me differently. I had to deal with the emotional struggles of people misunderstanding me, even when I could not understand myself.
This became apparent to me through various forms of bullying. While this was my experience for an extended period of time, it didn’t stop me from having and reaching goals I set for myself. Living with autism has never defined me as a person, instead, it has become the vehicle that pushes me to do my very best. One of the reasons for my positivity is my mom. My mom has to be the strongest woman I know. She has always been my biggest supporter. My mother never gave up on me. My mom always tried to be positive, but there were times I saw her tears. She has dedicated her life to research, giving me the tools and resources that I need. She has also worked extremely hard to prepare me for life after I complete high school. Her encouragement, drive and belief in me is what motivates me to strive for more and be successful.
At the age of 8, my mom had remarried and my parents and I discovered my gift. The gift of “Speed”! I began running track, playing baseball, soccer, and basketball. After trying the different sports, I realized that “Track and Field” was my thing! My stepfather trained me and also became a coach with the track club team I had joined. Running allowed me to feel free. I felt unstoppable when I ran. No one could catch me and because of my gift of speed, over the years I became more known for being “That Fast Kid” or “The Fastest Kid in the School”. By the time I entered middle school some of the bullying stopped and I became well known in my community. Most importantly, I began to believe in myself. No matter how I learned, or understood things 1 Carter that others comprehended differently, I had to make others understand my world and become my own voice.
During my transition from adolescence into my teenage years, I felt alone and at times I doubted myself. There were times I just wanted to shout “Why Do I have Autism”? I had so much positive reinforcement around me. No one understood what I lived with or dealt with everyday in my life. I was embarrassed when I had to get pulled out of class for speech, evaluations, or other resource accommodations that made me feel different. I wanted to be normal, I just wanted to be like my friends. I had become uncommunicative, moody, and I didn’t know how to express myself. That’s when I found music. Music became my therapy and I developed a strong passion for it. It balanced me between home and school. Music didn’t judge me, and I was the creative voice behind it. My love for music has encouraged me to learn how to arrange music and edit it in various ways. I believe music is the most expressive way one can communicate without speaking yet convey a multitude of emotions.
I’ve learned that my journey is not just for me, it’s for me to inspire others who are like me. I want to encourage and help other kids that live with autism or other learning disabilities to find their voice. By furthering my education, I want to encourage others to not give up, but Dream Bigger and never put limits on yourself. In the Fall 2020, I will begin college at Prairie View A&M University and major in Music. My plan is to pursue a career in the field of Music Technology. I’m going to take my passion for composing, arranging, and editing music and bring it to life by creating new technological possibilities in the area of film and television. I have also been extended the opportunity to run track on a collegiate level. Due to CORVID-19, my high school track season was interrupted and recruiting was put on hold. I was offered an opportunity to walk-on the track team at Prairie View A&M. I am excited that I will have the opportunity to continue my track career and be an example for the autism community as an NCAA Division I athlete.
Learning how to deal with adversity is what builds character and resilience. Living with autism, I have learned to become a better me through the things that help challenge me in my life. This new chapter will be another opportunity that I will be able to show people to not focus on the thorn…look at the flower that bloomed. I have accomplished a lot and my reward is coming. I 2 Carter have accepted that I was given this mountain to show others that it can be moved…the best is yet to come!
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.