This guest post is by Benjamin James Kingston, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Montserrat College of Art. Benjamin 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.
When I was a little kid, I was not like other kids, to say the least. I would not doubt that a decent amount of my teachers believed that I was a lost cause. Thankfully, my parents were not willing to give up on me and let the school just give up on trying to help me. Over time, the programs at the school decided to step up their game and help the kids like me out like they needed to. Granted by doing this I got grouped in with kids far more unstable than I was, I was forced to be in the classes with the infamous “School bully” from 2nd grade to 8th Those were the darkest years of my life, but they showed me how to deal with complete menaces for lack of a better way of putting it. From the start of elementary school to the end of it there was a noticeable difference in how much I have improved, same for middle school. By the time high school rolled around, I was finally able to break free from the school bully as he for some reason needed to move. This was one of the best moments of my life. Anyway, once I got to high school, I was in control of myself enough to be in the general education classes. I was getting good grades, even a few awards. After that, I got into my dream school “Montserrat College of Art” where I currently am studying to become a concept artist.
Reflecting on my firsthand experiences of life, I have come to realize that having autism has affected how my life is going in terms of how I decide to do what I do. It has been both a blessing and a challenge in ways, but I would say that it leans heavily more on the blessing side. I will often hyper-focus on something and become obsessed with it whether it be a new hobby such as making medieval armor or needing to finish the homework assigned on Monday on Monday instead of Friday when it is due. I often have many ideas that people without autism might not ever think of as a solution, I think that my autism has helped me produce solutions so far outside the box people find them amazing. Granted all of this is just from my observations so my assumptions of how autism has affected me could be completely wrong.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was freaking out just like anyone would to be fair. As it went on, I began to just accept it for what it was. After all, what could I do to help a global pandemic? I know many things, but virology and that stuff is not exactly a place I could help in. All I could do was do my part, socially distance, and wear a mask in hopes that it helps. I did not let the fear of it push me away from doing what I want to do and setting myself up for success through the education that college would provide me. I would not allow fear to distract me from what is the most influential years of my life that will build into a lifelong career. To be honest, going to college as a first-year student during the pandemic was not the most desirable intro to college but I would say that it was still worthy. With any luck this will be over soon, and I will be able to have all my classes in person because the teaching is better for me when it’s in person.
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.