This guest post is by Liam Stevens, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Grand Canyon University. Liam 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.
My name is Liam Stevens and I am a senior at Show Low High School in Show Low, Arizona.
I was born in California, moved to Arizona when I was 6 months old and then moved to Colorado in 2012. I moved back to AZ in August of 2020 to live with my father and attend Show Low High School.
I moved to Show Low to try a smaller school. My high school in Colorado, Highlands Ranch High School, has almost 2000 kids. I found it hard to fit in and be a part of the school. I met kids in Show Low when visiting my father and thought the move would be good for me. I am doing much better in a smaller environment. The teachers are very nice and work hard to help me stay on track and focused.
I have struggled in school since Kindergarten. I was diagnosed with ADHD and have tried every medication to help me be successful.
In 2017, my mother had me evaluated based on my Psychologist’s recommendation. He thought ADHD was not the correct or complete diagnosis. After the 2 day evaluation, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I was shocked and very sad when I was first diagnosed. All these years I had been treated as a behavior problem child who nobody understood.
I started therapy to work on my social skills and stayed in therapy for 3 years until I moved to Arizona. It was so helpful. I finally understood why I struggled to keep friends and to get along with my team members in sports. I spent most of my childhood alone because I didn’t want to worry about people calling me weird or trying to stay away from me. My therapist taught me how to read people and respond appropriately. I learned how to back off when people felt uncomfortable or unsure of my personality. I have so much more confidence now in dealing with people and kids my age.
Until this year, I thought I was not smart or stable enough for college, but now I know I am. I want to work in law enforcement. I want to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. I feel I would be a great person to work with troubled people because I understand what it is like to struggle and still make a successful life for myself. So many people could benefit from the help I finally received with the correct diagnoses.
As a kid, I thought I would always have issues and not be able to have a normal life, but now I know this is definitely not the case. I am going to make it through college and have a career. My goal is to be the best at my job and to continue working on myself and my weaknesses so I am always improving and moving forward in life.
If I have a child with special needs, I will work hard to make sure he or she receives the help needed to become a success in life. Everyone experiences some sort of adversity, some just have to work harder to overcome the challenges.
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.