This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a graduate student at Seton Hall University, and is actively involved with our college program. Autism Speaks U is an initiative designed to support college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts.
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned in college was the ability to lead through, “The Power of a Positive Attitude.” When I was growing up it was always difficult for me to commit to things, always hard for me to get to that next level. A big part of that was based on my attitude. I didn’t know it back then but I was blind from how my attitude was leading the direction of my life. I struggled so much back when I was a kid it was always tough for me to focus on what was needed to overcome those obstacles.
College did change me though. It made me understand the need to take my attitude that indeed dramatically changed in high school to another level again. This happened when I started to realize there’s a solution to everything. Indeed, some of these solutions are ever changing as our society evolves and gains more knowledge but like what my mom would always tell me, “there are no problems, just solutions.” This helped me tremendously. Whether it was was getting accommodations for classes or even finding a way for an individual with autism such as myself to get a masters degree in strategic communication, the solution was there for me to find.
For all those reading what I hope you take from this is that even though there is a great deal of uncertainty out there involving autism that you understand we must continue to push positivity in everything we do. There are answers out there to help our loved ones succeed, autistic or not. Getting down on ourselves will help no one in our pursuits for a better tomorrow. Our community is in desperate need of this. I know this might be harder for some but for those individuals I ask that you make an effort to lose yourself in your passions to make a difference for yourself and the lives of others.
Tell yourself, there are ways to improve my life. There are ways to help my loved ones. Make these your mantra. We spend so much time sometimes saying what we don’t have, what services we can’t find, what diagnosis’s we can’t get, that we don’t appreciate what we have today. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Live your life with no more problems but instead strive to find the solutions. And if you can, do it with a smile. It can make a world of difference. It did for me.
This is one of my Autism Speaks U related blog posts. If you would like to contact me directly about questions/comments related to this post I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Facebook Page here.
This guest post is by Courtney Hindle, co-president of the Autism Speaks U chapter at George Washington University. Autism Speaks U is a program designed to support college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts. To start a chapter on your college campus, visit www.AutismSpeaks.org/U.
My name is Courtney Hindle, and I am a junior at George Washington University (GWU), studying political communications. I am also the current co-president of the Autism Speaks U chapter at my school. My involvement with autism began early on, when my younger brother was diagnosed and I later became a volunteer for Hunterdon Outreach Programs in my hometown.
These programs are designed to teach children with various disabilities how to play a range of sports. I remained a volunteer for the Hunterdon Outreach programs throughout high school and knew I wanted to continue my passion for helping those with autism once I came to college. When I discovered the Autism Speaks U chapter at my school I decided to join.
We have had a chapter at GWU for a year and a half now and are so thrilled with the progress we have made with this incredible organization. The overall GWU student body has been tremendously supportive of our chapter.
Whenever we are hosting events for Autism Speaks, students always stop by to talk about their personal experiences with autism and how appreciative they are for everything Autism Speaks does for raising awareness. While many students are informed about autism, there is still a large portion of the student body that doesn’t quite grasp autism. We hope that through future awareness events we will be able to reach out to those in our community that don’t quite understand and give them a better understanding of the disorder. The mission of Autism Speaks U at GWU is to raise awareness on campus about autism and Autism Speaks while also looking for volunteer opportunities for students.
Recently, our chapter raised over $2,000 for the National Walk Now for Autism Speaks and placed second out of all collegiate fundraising teams for that Walk. Leading up to the Walk, we organized several tabling events where we fundraised and registered fellow GWU students to participate in the Walk.
We have also sponsored an event hosted by George Washington University’s Disability Support Services, about “composing disability.” This symposium focused on how college students with disabilities are viewed and how teachers and students can work to address problems those with disabilities have in the school system. This was a great opportunity to have our members learn about how our school works with supporting those with disabilities and we were so honored to be one of the symposium’s sponsors.
Being a part of Autism Speaks U has been an incredible experience and our chapter cannot wait to see where we will be a year from now!