This guest post is by Edythe, a young woman on the autism spectrum who has been accepted into Lehigh Carbon Community College. Edythe 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.
About two years ago when I was sixteen years old, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). My entire life changed. I finally understood why I felt different. It was the explanation for why I didn’t understand life the way others did. It was why I took things said to me too literally and didn’t grasp concepts that my peers easily understood. My diagnoses caused a realization that sparked a period of personal growth in my life, and helped me to better understand myself.
When I was diagnosed with autism it transformed me. I finally understood why I was the way I am. Unlike many people on the spectrum, I was not diagnosed with ASD until my teen years. It was a struggle in life as I could never understand why I was so different. Unfortunately, because I didn’t understand life the way my peers did, I was bullied from elementary school to high school, which eventually left me with a lot of emotional scarring. I educated myself about the disorder, specifically autism in females. I learned about the different characteristics that go along with autism: sensory overload, need for sameness, variation in abilities, problems with social interaction. I could relate to all of these.
I have read so many empowering stories from people like me who have autism, and some people even call autism their “superpower,” and explain how having autism is more of a blessing than a curse. I am not going to lie and say that I am proud to have autism because the truth is, I’m not. I wish I could make connections with people my age and fit in with my peers. If giving up my autism would allow me to do that, I would in a heartbeat. Even so, I have learned to accept that my autism is a part of me.
The word “autism” has a lot of negativity surrounding it, and people tend to think of the bad qualities, instead of the good. I don’t really blame people for that because when I was diagnosed, I only saw the negative, too. But over time, I went through a period of personal development in my life that led me to find strengths in myself despite having autism like my wildly active imagination, attention to detail, phenomenal long term memory, determination, honesty, commitment, patience, acceptance of others, and unconditional love for people and the world, just to name a few. I feel emotions and love more strongly and intensely than any neurotypical (non-autistic) person ever could, although I might not always know how to express it properly.
I now understand myself and my behavior, and I have learned to accept who I am. I have learned to always be myself, to express myself and have faith in myself. I am not ashamed of who I am. I don’t allow anyone to define my limits. I am focused on what I can become not what I am. I know I will succeed in college, and I cannot wait to prove myself right! My plan for college is to major in psychology or a related field because I have a strong passion in learning about mental health disorders and treatment. I want to educate others and break the stigma surrounding these disorders. Most importantly, I want to help people with disabilities understand themselves and accept their unique way of seeing the world.
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.