TIM’s Path: Navigating Autism with Purpose

This guest post is by Timothy Everett, a young man who is diagnosed with autism and is attending Illinois State University. Everett 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.

Starting at 3 years old, I struggled to interact with kids my age at park district events. A park district employee suggested having a specialist observe me and provided a list of specialists who could assist. I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by a doctor. This marked the beginning of a journey involving special education schools, counselors, and behavior therapy. Despite this, I found understanding and patience among boys in Cub Scouts, along with mentorship from Scout leaders who recommended special needs resources to my parents. Advocating for myself, I transitioned back to mainstream school to be with friends, focus on academics, and enhance my social and emotional well-being. Working diligently with educators and counselors, I maintained positive grades and sought support for behavior and mental health. Reintegrating into mainstream school in 6th grade, I received overwhelming support from friends. Now a senior in high school and an Eagle Scout, I have been accepted to Illinois State University for Environmental Science.

Reflecting on my journey with an “invisible disability,” I am deeply grateful for the unwavering support I received from my friends, community, and school, which played a pivotal role in empowering me to embrace my autism and strive for independence. This life-changing experience has not only shaped my personal growth but has also significantly influenced my outlook on reducing stigmas surrounding mental health and disabilities.

One of the most significant milestones in my journey was conceiving and meticulously planning my Eagle project, “Tim Talk – Disability Awareness”. Over a period of nine months, I dedicated myself to raising awareness about the daily challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. This project was not just a high point of my leadership skills but also a reflection of my personal journey on the autism spectrum.

As a crucial component of my project, I developed the website www.TIMtalk.net, which served as a platform for promoting understanding and inclusivity. The website provided valuable resources, personal stories, and information to foster empathy and encourage involvement in disability-related causes.

Raising funds became a significant part of my project’s success, allowing me to secure essential resources and guest speakers. I selected seven guest speakers who specialized in different areas of disability awareness to share their experiences and expertise. With their help, I organized a comprehensive, three-hour informative seminar centered around disability awareness, fostering empathy, and instilling knowledge.

To ensure lasting impact, I created a resource booklet that compiled essential information about organizations providing services to people with disabilities. This resource was intended to connect individuals in our community with the necessary support networks, thereby affecting positive change in the lives of those in need.

Throughout the project, I actively supervised and coordinated a team of volunteers, speakers, and adults to ensure smooth operation.

By sharing my story of triumph over adversity and dedication to making a positive impact on the world around me, I hope to inspire others within the autism community to embrace their unique strengths, advocate for themselves, and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination. My journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of resilience, self-acceptance, and the unwavering support of those around us in overcoming obstacles and achieving success.

As I look towards the future, I am filled with optimism and a sense of purpose. My experiences have equipped me with valuable skills such as leadership, organization, and effective communication that will undoubtedly serve me well as I embark on my academic journey at Illinois State University. I am eager to continue advocating for disability awareness and inclusion, using my voice to educate and inspire others to create a more compassionate and understanding society.

In conclusion, my journey on the autism spectrum has been one filled with challenges, growth, and ultimately triumph. Through perseverance, self-advocacy, and the support of my community, I have been able to overcome obstacles and make a meaningful impact. As I continue on my path towards higher education and beyond, I carry with me the lessons learned and the unwavering belief that every individual has the power to effect positive change in the world.

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 (youtube.com)

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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