This guest post is by Connor James Wilson, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Thomas Nelson Community College. Connor 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.
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 born in Norfolk, Virginia on September 20th, 2002 at 5:39pm. Three years later I moved to Yorktown. I met all the developmental milestones except talking. Although I did start talking at the right age, it took me a while to speak sentences. I invented new words instead, basically a way around those sentences. For example, I created the word Hodger, which meant a 4-legged carnivore. When I was two, my younger brother was born.
My mother was becoming increasingly concerned about my behavior and I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when I was 4 years old, however, I was later diagnosed with standard ASD when I was seven years old. After taking preschool and pre-Kindergarten, I went to Tabb Elementary for one year in transitional kindergarten. The following year, I was moved to an inclusion Kindergarten class with pull-out accommodation. I basically retook Kindergarten in York Elementary, for the one and only time I ever retook a grade. But this did help me adjust to being in school and allowed me to catch up with my peers. I had occupational therapy, and speech therapy and I took joy in acting when I was young. Joy of acting helped me express my emotions better.
I never learned I was autistic until I was in fifth grade, and I struggled to accept the reality of the situation for a long time. But recently I have changed, but I don’t like being separated from my disability when being referred to. I have come to realize that it is because of my autism that I become passionate so easily over so many things, and the reason I have accomplished very nearly everything that has challenged me when I become determined. I can hyper-focus to accomplish things, too, when I feel like it is necessary. Still, because of my autism, I struggle to focus, I struggle to understand certain social behavior and I only occasionally notice sarcasm at first. I can also be very hyper, and I get anxious at times, too.
Originally, I was very scared of moving to middle school, but it turned out to be great. I would only get A’s and B’s on my report card, and I even passed advanced in my seventh-grade math SOL.
In ninth grade I continued my A B honor roll, and I also joined a D&D club. I took German as my foreign language class and it has been one of my most favorite classes. My mother tried to get me interested in high school plays, I reluctantly agreed to join as crew member in the play Almost Maine, but I didn’t regret doing so. I ended up really liking it and decided to have an acting role in Fiddler on the Roof. I got a role in Fiddler on the Roof and played as Avram, the bookseller. Afterwards, I joined the Thespian Honor Society at the end of ninth grade. In tenth grade I was a part of the principle’s student advisories counsel but only for that year. I continued to play D&D and continued to take German class as well. I decided to join the Drama club classes. I played a mime cop in the play Cop and the Anthem. I also played a knight in Once Upon a Mattress. At the end of tenth grade, I became the rule enforcer of my D&D club. At the end of my school year, I joined the German Honor Society. The summer before 11th grade I got a job at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, although it was seasonal work. I worked as an Area Host, which is basically a janitor. I worked independently at my job, and after it was finished around the end of summer, I was informed from my boss that I did an incredible job. In eleventh grade I played Cheever in The Crucible and I was going to play Urinetown, but that play never happened due to Covid-19. At the end of the year, I became a historian of my Thespian Honor Society, in which I am supposed to make a yearbook of all the pictures taken of each play. I was rewarded with the spirit of the ensemble in the thespian honor society. I also joined the National Honor Society. As a senior I played Snoopy in Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, and Sam in Old Folks. I got my Provisional black belt in Martial arts, meaning I am close to getting my black belt. And finally. I am earning an advanced Diploma.
Throughout my childhood I had many interests and passions. Most important to me is my interest in prehistoric creatures. I feel like Paleontology (The study of these prehistoric creatures) is absurdly underrated and ignored. We still find new prehistoric creatures every day, but the interest in finding these creatures is dying out. I am filled with curiosity to find out what the world is hiding, I am interested in anything in the far past, typically pre-USA. My other fixations are watching Godzilla movies with my dad and little brother, How to Train your Dragons, Star Wars, Marvel and Astronomy, too. When it comes to passion, I temporarily practiced piano, but then I moved on to Hapkido, the martial art I study, which has been a valuable passion for 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.