This guest post is by Noah Thomas a young man on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Noah 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.
On the surface, I may look like other high school students, getting through life the same way as any other. You will see me doing my work in class. You will see me chatting with friends. You will often see me sitting down, minding my own business, looking like I could not give a care to the world, but that is far from true. If you try to look at life from my lens, you will see that I am always thinking: my mind is rarely relaxed. You see, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, diagnosed when I was 18 months old. Life has exhorted a different aura upon me, one of a unique and different breed.
I sometimes view autism in a rather negative light, attributing it as the cause to certain qualities I deem negative. For instance, some claim that if you have autism, you are guaranteed to have a lonely life, due to general society shunning you because of how different you are. This claim is, however, pessimistic and unwarranted these days. There has been much development in autistic research, spurred by the drastic increase in the number of diagnoses, as well as a general increase in public knowledge and interest. And while it may be true that people on the spectrum are more likely to succumb to certain mental conditions such as depression or social anxiety, thereby leading to a lonely lifestyle, this isn’t guaranteed, much less so now than before. Since public awareness is greater, the average person will tend to look past this and see what genuine qualities any individual can bring to the table. In reality, autism can be a terrific thing.
It’s well known in the autism community that some of the greatest minds in history may have had autism, and to some, that is a point of pride. I’m talking about figures as well-known as the likes of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Nikola Tesla, Charles Darwin, and many, many more. Most of these figures are credited with huge scientific breakthroughs. Some scholars believe that the tendency to hyperfocus, a quirk often associated with autism, led them to see things others would have never seen. All of these figures showed quiet, reserved personalities, and all of them were reluctant to socialize. Yet, they were successful and made significant contributions, indicating what those on the autism spectrum are really capable of accomplishing.
In my journey, I’ve learned that there are an unbelievable amount of benefits to being on the spectrum. Our unique way of thinking allows us to see things that others miss, and gives each and every one of us a new way to look at the world. And even though we may have challenges, like difficulty communicating or making friends, our incredible ability to learn can help us overcome these hurdles, even if we have to work a little harder. I look forward to using my own unique perspective to discover new things and make meaningful contributions to life on this planet.
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.