This guest post is by Skyler Patterson, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Berry College. Skyler 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 was very small and severely developmentally delayed. My Mom and I began doing all we could to help me catch up. I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder/autism and given a list of limitations I would face. As I worked hard and grew, I seemed to overcome most of the limits and excel. I did great in school, participated in sports and had a few good friends. I became a great big brother and helped my Mom a lot.
As I entered high school, my family was hit with a financial hardship out of the blue. It was nothing that we had any control over. Over the next couple of years we struggled to survive and not lose our home. I began to work on a farm as soon as I was 16 and have been able to help my mom, when needed. She has always paid it back, even though I did not expect it. She made sure my brother and sister and I had what we needed and I was still able to play baseball and participate in other school activities. I could say these distractions may have had an impact on my academic performance; however, I am maintaining about a 3.7 GPA and taking Honors, Dual Enrollment and AP classes while being involved in extracurricular and community activities.
During this time we were struggling, I began to return to an old habit of twirling my hair, to the point of having bald places. My Mom wanted to make sure I was okay and had me see someone. He said I was very healthy emotionally and dealt with things very well. My behavior was a manifestation of the High Functioning Autism diagnosis, from so many years ago, that we had almost forgotten about. I still catch myself doing that but have some replacement behaviors I can use.
I tell you all these personal things to help you know a little bit about who I am and how I have gotten to be who I am, and to help you see that I do not let things get me down. I don’t use excuses and don’t quit. I work hard at the things I do. I don’t face things alone. I have an excellent support system in my family, my God and my friends. I can handle what life and college throw at me.
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.