This guest post is by Weston Trent, a young man who is diagnosed with autism and plans to attends UT FUTURE program in Knoxville. Weston is applying for the Spring 2024 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. Autistics on Autism: Stories You Need to Hear About What Helped Them While Growing Up and Pursuing Their Dreams, our nonprofit’s new book, was released on March 29, 2022, on Amazon here for our community to enjoy featuring the stories of 100 autistic adults.

My name is Weston Trent and I am 20 years old. When I was young I was delayed in some of my milestones but I made eye contact so back then they did not think of autism unless you were “in your own world” and did not make eye contact. I did not crawl, I rolled around and was 15 months old before I learned to walk. I was not talking. I was not progressing like my two older brothers. When my mom questioned the doctor if I could have autism, she was told not to compare me to my two older brothers, that I was just “quirky”. I did not talk until I was 4 years old and even then my speech was garbled. I still have trouble with my words getting mixed up at times. I learned a few sign language signs before I learned to talk to help me communicate. When I was 2 ½ years old, I had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest and had to have CPR. I ended up having several more seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. The doctors then thought that I should have more tests done. I was finally diagnosed with autism at 3 ½ years old. My parents weren’t given much hope about my future. They decided to hit the therapies hard and push me as much as they could to see what I was capable of doing/learning. I know I wasn’t an easy child and was very strong willed (but so were my parents). I didn’t understand at the time why these torturous therapies were needed. I would get so mad and have meltdowns. I started the comprehensive development classroom (CDC) special needs preschool when I was three. I received 2 speech therapies and 2 occupational therapies through the school system weekly and my parents took me to private speech and OT sessions 3 more times weekly. I was going to therapy 5 times a week. I worked hard just to learn everyday skills. I was in the CDC classrooms until I was in second grade. My parents requested that I be placed in a regular classroom so I could model “typical” kids my age. They had no clue if it was the right choice. It was very hard to sit still in the classroom at times. When I would get bouncy legs and wring my hands the teachers knew that I needed a break. It was so frustrating trying to sit still and hearing the different noises in class and trying to stay focused. I would laugh inappropriately and mimic. I felt like some teachers thought I was doing things on purpose to get out of doing my work but there were some days my skin would crawl from all the environmental stimuli. Plus, with the seizures, my brain felt like it was in a fog and the fluorescent lights were so bright. When I was in elementary school, my parents explained to me that I was diagnosed with autism. However, I remember my mom telling me that I could not use it as an excuse that I had to try my best no matter what. I learned things differently than my classmates. Things that they learned naturally, I had to work on like interpreting body language and facial expressions and not mimicking or laughing inappropriately. I had to work hard at simple tasks.
I really did not have friends in school and was only invited to two or three parties the entire time that I was in school. I wanted friends really badly but never had anyone to hang out with or text. A lot of people thought I was weird or different. In high school a girl (Emily) witnessed two other students calling me bad names and making fun of me every day at lunch. I did not know what to do or say. It made me feel terrible. She wrote a letter and turned it into the principal and reported their bullying. When I was asked how long this had been going on, I answered, “ 25 days.” When asked why I didn’t tell someone, I answered, “I didn’t want to get THEM in trouble.” I was so thankful for Emily and that the bullying finally stopped. The football players started sitting with me at lunch. They were funny and made me laugh. There were other incidents in school where others were not so nice but the good people outweighed the bad. Even though I really didn’t have friends to hang out with, overall people were nice to me. I have had so many teachers, staff members and therapists over the years that helped me along the way and I will never forget them. They showed me kindness and helped me. I like helping others and showing kindness too.
I am now attending the UT FUTURE program in Knoxville in my second year. It is a program that helps young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am living an hour away from home in a dorm. I have learned so much and I have friends! I have finally found my voice and advocate for myself. My schedule usually begins at 8am and ends around 6pm. I have worked each semester. I want to be gainfully employed when I graduate and want what most people want. I want to have friends, a girlfriend (maybe a wife one day), work and have a happy life. I hope you take me into consideration for the KFM Making a Difference Scholarship because it will help make a difference in my life. I will make you proud and do my best. I want to show other people like me not to give up even when things get hard. You don’t have to be perfect but you should always do your best. I want people to forget the “Dis” and remember my ability.

Follow my journey on Facebook, my Facebook Fan Page, Tiktok, Youtube & Instagram.

What happens to children with autism, when they become adults? | Kerry Magro | TEDxMorristown (

My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum. I started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue 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.

Autistics on Autism: Stories You Need to Hear About What Helped Them While Growing Up and Pursuing Their Dreams was released on March 29, 2022 on Amazon here for our community to enjoy featuring the stories of 100 autistic adults. 100% of the proceeds from this book will go back to our nonprofit to support initiatives like our autism scholarship program. In addition, this autistic adult’s essay you just read will be featured in a future volume of this book as we plan on making this into a series of books on autistic adults.


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