7 Students with Autism Receive College Scholarships; 45 Recipients in 6 Years

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Kerry Magro, an adult with autism and Founder/President of KFM Making a Difference (a New Jersey based non-profit corporation), announced his organization’s award of college scholarships to seven young adults with autism; Brandon Beltran, Nicholas Ryland, Caleb Chiariello, Austin Gillum, Ellie Rappaport, Jared Hites and Trey Alvelo. With this latest round of scholarship awards, Kerry Magro and KFM have now awarded fourty-five (45) scholarships to students with autism in the last six years.

As Summer approaches we are so glad to award scholarships to Nicholas Ryland (Austin, TX), Caleb Chiariello (Morristown, NJ), Jared Hites (Hermantown, MN) and Trey Alvelo (Chatham, VA). These are KFM’s Spring 2017 “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” winners! In addition, we are happy to award honorable mention scholarships to Austin Gillum (South Korea), Ellie Rappaport (Atlanta, GA) and Brandon Beltran (Coral Springs, FL)!

“This year we added an online essay portion to our scholarship and it brought in hundreds of thousands of readers to learn more about these amazing students.” says Kerry Magro, founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference. “Based on the donations we continue to receive we were able to make this happen and give these students with autism support as they pursue a post-secondary education.”

In fall of 2012, KFM Making a Difference launched its scholarship program. Thus far KFM has given out fourty-five (45) scholarships in total to help students with autism to go to college. Kerry Magro, founder of KFM, is a producer of social media and digital content at Autism Speaks, a professionally certified motivational speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant and television talk show host. Kerry was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at age four. Today, Kerry travels the country as an International Motivational Speaker to share his story about autism and to support other kids with autism on their roads through life.

KFM as another new part of the application asked each of the scholarship winners to share what they would like people to know about autism to educate our community. This is what they had to say…

Untitled design (2)“People with autism can accomplish so many things and I hope we can continue to create opportunities for people with autism to do what they love and contribute to their communities. Different is not less and the more we can educate people about that fact the sooner we can all benefit from and appreciate the talents and efforts of everyone.”

– Nicholas, majoring in Music at University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music, Class of 2021

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“The autism spectrum can be both great and also challenging. I have always had a knack for numbers, but I can’t say the same about social situations. However, I am perfectly comfortable with myself and unlike some people, I don’t need approval from others to be who I am.”

– Caleb, majoring in Computer Science and Accounting at Stevens Institute of Technology, Class of 2022

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“I would like people to know that having Autism doesn’t mean I’m brain damaged. I’m wired differently but I’m not defective. Many great discoveries in the world were discovered by Autistic people. The world needs people who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to pursue a different path than the herd.”

– Jared, majoring in Engineering at Itasca Community College, Class of 2019

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“Do not let anyone define who you are or restrict you with a label. Autism can be a gift when you learn how to recognize where your strengths and weaknesses are. Autism has given me a greater ability to focus in school, follow directions and pay attention. I have learned to be organized and work on uncomfortable social situations.”

– Trey, majoring in History and Political Science at Emory & Henry College, Class of 2021

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“I like the saying “Different Not Less” and  “Autism – Always Unique Totally Intelligent Sometimes Mysterious”. We are all the same, we just do things a little different, determination is the number one reason we get to where we want to be in life.”

– Brandon, majoring in Marine Biology at Florida Atlantic University, Class of 2021

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“Living with Autism has been tough: finding the right school, the right friends, going to therapy every week, etc. But with support from my family, friends and teachers, I’ve been able to succeed. If you’re living with Autism, never give up because being different isn’t bad. It’s a gift. Use your gift to make the world a better place!”

– Ellie, majoring in Early Childhood Education at Dean College, Class of 2019

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“People with autism are, in general, highly complicated individuals. As stated quite accurately by an autistic character in the new Power Rangers movie, our minds work differently from those of people who aren’t autistic. But despite our autism, this condition shouldn’t be what define us. You cannot lump all people into one category, and autistic people are no different in that regard.”

– Austin, majoring in English at University of Maryland University College, Class of 2018

Today, according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism while more than 500,000 young individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. A few years ago U.S. News & World Report highlighted KFM Making a Difference as one of the only non-profits to give out scholarships to adults with autism in the U.S pursuing a post-secondary program.

The deadline for our next scholarship in the “2017 Summer Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” program will be Monday, August 14th at Midnight U.S Eastern Standard Time. You can find the application here.

This scholarship fund is funded entirely through the generous donations of members in our community. You can help their scholarship program moving forward by making a tax-deductible donation here. If you are interested in learning more about Kerry’s background or sending him a media/speaker inquiry you can contact him anytime here.

4 Students with Autism Receive College Scholarships; 38 Recipients in 5 Years

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Kerry Magro, an adult with autism and Founder/President of KFM Making a Difference (a New Jersey based non-profit corporation), announced his organization’s award of college scholarships to four young adults with autism; Adam Bickford, Ellen Presti, Nils Skudra and Andrew Wilkins. With this latest round of scholarship awards, Kerry Magro and KFM have now awarded thirty-eight (38) scholarships to students with autism in the last five years.

As we head into a wonderful new year full of opportunities we are proud to award scholarships to Adam Bickford (Afton, OK), Ellen Presti (Barnegat, NJ), Nils Skudra (Greensboro, NC) and Timothy Wilkins (Cherry Hill, NJ). These are KFM’s Fall 2016 “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” winners!

“As we continue our program we were delighted to read about these amazing students through their scholarship applications,” says Kerry Magro, founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference. “Based on the donations received we were able to make this happen and give these students with autism support as they pursue a post-secondary education. Another year is underway!”

In fall of 2012, KFM Making a Difference launched its scholarship program. Thus far KFM has given out thirty-eight (38) scholarships in total to help autistic adults to go to college. Kerry Magro, founder of KFM, is a producer of social media and digital content at Autism Speaks, a professionally certified motivational speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant and television talk show host. Kerry was diagnosed with autism at age four. Today, Kerry travels the country to share his story about autism and to support other autistic kids on their roads through life.

Like our last scholarship announcement, KFM asked each of the scholarship winners to share a message for students with autism who are currently hoping to attend a post-secondary program one day. This is what they had to say…

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“For those with autism and aspergers: Always have a contingency plan on how you’re going to achieve your goals, but always be ready for the times life throws you a curve ball. Just remember your dreams and goals are achievable no matter what anyone says. You are worth it!” – Adam, majoring in Zoology with a minor in Biology at Rogers State University, Class of 2021

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“If I can do it, you can do it. Take the chances you have to be heard. College is possible for kids like us. I know you can do it.” – Ellen, majoring in Elementary Education with a concentration in English, Class of 2021

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“For students on the autism spectrum who are hoping to attend a post-secondary program someday, I highly encourage them to pursue their academic goals. As a person on the spectrum, I myself have faced many personal and academic obstacles, including bullying from other students and an underestimation by academics of my intellectual abilities, but through hard work, perseverance, and the utilization of autism support I have achieved remarkable academic success, and I’m pursuing my dreams.” – Nils, majoring in History at University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Class of 2018

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“I would like to share a message for students with autism that they can pursue whatever dreams they want to and fulfill them if they put their mind to it. You have to really try if you want your dreams to come true. I have worked extremely hard to maintain focus to fulfill my dream. I really appreciate KFM Making A Difference Scholarship in helping that dream come true.” – Timothy, majoring in Computer Graphics: Game Design and Development from Camden County College, Class of 2020

Today, according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism while more than 500,000 young individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. A few years ago U.S. News & World Report highlighted KFM Making a Difference as one of the only non-profits to give out scholarships to adults with autism in the U.S pursuing a post-secondary program.

The deadline for our next scholarship in the “2017 Spring Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” program will be Monday, May 1st at Midnight U.S Eastern Standard Time. You can find the application here.

This scholarship fund is funded entirely through the generous donations of members in our community. You can help their scholarship program moving forward by making a tax-deductible donation here.

11 Tips for Students With Autism Who Are Going to College

This guest post is by Kerry Magro, CEO and Founder of KFM Making a Difference. 

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College can often be a difficult transition for those on the autism spectrum. When I was growing up on autism spectrum, getting into college was my first big dream. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m currently pursuing my doctoral degree.

I wanted to share 11 questions I frequently get asked by from students on the autism spectrum who are pursuing a post-secondary education.

1. As a college student affected by autism, what is one of the main things I need to know?

A big difference between college and high school is that in high school you generally have a structured plan for your accommodations called an individualized education program (IEP). However, in college that no longer exists, so you must advocate to your disability support group on campus to receive your own accommodations

2. What are some accommodations I can receive in my classes?

Individuals on the spectrum receive accommodations only if they register with their disability support group. They will then receive accommodations based on their needs. This can include extended time on tests, tape recorders for classes, individual note takers, etc.

3. Do I have to pay for accommodations?

Under The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, colleges are required to provide all learning disabled individuals with “reasonable accommodations.” However, you should check the guidelines inregards to what is and what is not available on your campus.

4. Will faculty or fellow students be informed that I am on the autism spectrum?

Faculty members are not allowed to disclose any information about a student to others without consent from the student. However, students must register as a “disabled student” to receive accommodations, meaning your disability support group would be aware you have a disability. It is then up to you to inform your instructors.

5. Is on-campus living for me?

Accommodations can also factor into your living arrangements on campus. For example, you may have an opportunity to have a single room if needed. Ask if your resident assistant will be made aware of your living situation, since he/she can be of help in an emergency.

6. Will tutoring be available for my courses?

Most colleges provide tutoring for all students, but it’s important to learn about those services early on to see if it is available and if you need additional support.

7. Are there any restrictions on how many courses I can take?

Some disability support groups require you take less courses in your first few semesters of college to make for an easier transition.

8. Is there a club on campus that raises awareness about autism and provides social opportunities for students affected by autism?

Autism Speaks’ college program, Autism Speaks U, works with students across the county to start chapters that raise awareness and funds. Some also establish mentoring programs for students and youth on the autism spectrum. To see if a chapter exists on your campus, visit www.AutismSpeaks.org/U.

9. Will my professors have any previous training in educating individuals affected by autism?

There is no requirement at most college for professors to have education in teaching
individuals with learning disabilities
. You should be prepared to advocate for yourself when a situation deems itself appropriate to do so.

10. Will I be treated differently by fellow students because I have autism?

Like in any other situation where you are around people, there is the possibility of a lack of awareness on their part in dealing with people with learning disabilities. Therefore, spreading awareness is crucial for you and others affected by autism.

11. Is there anything on campus that focuses on post-college plans for individuals affected by autism?

Many colleges have a career program/center that focuses on helping you network with outside companies. You can also look under the Americans with Disabilities Act for information about job accommodations and workshops.

I wish all the incoming students with autism a wonderful college experience! Have fun, study hard and remember each day what you are working to achieve. That’s the key more than anything else to succeed and thrive in college.

In 2015, I contributed a chapter to a book called “College for Students with Disabilities: We Do Belong” that shares the experience of several individuals with disabilities who have successfully navigated a post-secondary education and graduated. You can learn more about the book here.

4 Students with Autism Receive College Scholarships; 34 Recipients in 5 Years

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Kerry Magro, an adult with autism and Founder/President of KFM Making a Difference (a New Jersey based non-profit corporation), announced his organization’s award of college scholarships to four young adults with autism; Benjamin N. Hays, Eleni Comstock, Eryn Lee and Margo McGeehan. With this latest round of scholarship awards, Kerry Magro and KFM have now awarded thirty-four (34) scholarships to students with autism in the last five years.

As many students with autism get ready for back-to-school, we celebrate their unique gifts through scholarships awarded by KFM Making a Difference, a non-profit organization that helps students with autism go to college. This year KFM is proud to award scholarships to Benjamin N. Hays (St. Lubbock, TX), Eleni Comstock (Pleasanton, CA), Eryn Lee (Jacksonville, AR) and Margo McGeehan (Douglassville, PA). These are KFM’s summer 2016 “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” winners!

“This was the first time we gave out summer scholarships to go along with our spring and fall Scholarship applications,” says Kerry Magro, founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference. “Based on the donations received we were able to make this happen and give these students with autism support as they pursue a post-secondary education. We are excited to continue to follow their journeys as they continue to inspire our community…”

In fall of 2012, KFM Making a Difference launched its scholarship program. Thus far KFM has given out thirty-four (34) scholarships in total to help autistic adults to go to college. Kerry Magro, founder of KFM, is a producer of social media and digital content at Autism Speaks, a professionally certified motivational speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant and television talk show host. Kerry was diagnosed with autism at age four. Today, Kerry travels the country to share his story about autism and to support other autistic kids on their roads through life.

This year KFM asked each of the scholarship winners to share a message for students with autism who are currently hoping to attend a post-secondary program one day. This is what they had to say…

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“To other students with autism, work hard. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because most people are willing to help. Also, just because you have autism doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.” – Benjamin, majoring in Computer Science at West Texas A&M University, Class of spring 2020

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“To others, who are hoping to attend a post-secondary educational program one day, I will tell you this; it is possible. I know you might think that me saying “it is possible” just may be just about the lamest advice anyone has ever told you, but I urge you to not throw the advice away as a nothing. Just keep working hard, keep pushing through challenges, and try to remember me saying that “It Is Possible.” – Eleni, majoring in Industrial Engineering at Montana State University, Class of spring 2020

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“The road to achieving your dreams is never easy. You will encounter obstacles and difficulties along the way, and sometimes you will doubt yourself. However, if the path was easy, it would not truly be worth it. You have to challenge yourself; you have to face the difficulties. The arduous encounters, be it in regards to life or the path to achievement, are what make them worth it. In the end, you find yourself stronger than you ever were, and instead of thinking “I wish I could be that person”, you can finally say, “I am that person”. Much like a little bird, you have to fall before you fly; anything is possible, just believe that you can do it. As Albus Dumbledore says, “We must try not to sink beneath or anguish…but battle on.” – Eryn, majoring in Biology with a minor in Studio Art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Class of spring 2018

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“For students with autism who want to eventually attend college, business school, or any type of post-secondary education, I want to tell them that despite what they may hear and may believe, they are more than capable of achieving any goals they set out for themselves. Even though society’s inherent able-centrism can make it difficult for disabled people to even receive the same rights as neuro-typical people, let alone the same opportunities, that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to make a difference in this world.” – Margo, majoring in Communication Studies at Kutztown University, Class of spring 2019

Today, according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism while more than 500,000 young individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. A few years ago U.S. News & World Report highlighted KFM Making a Difference as one of the only non-profits to give out scholarships to adults with autism in the U.S pursuing a post-secondary program.

The deadline for our next scholarship in the “2016 Fall Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” will be Monday, December 5th at Midnight U.S Eastern Standard Time. You can find the application here.

This scholarship fund is funded entirely through the generous donations of members in our community. You can help their scholarship program moving forward by making a tax-deductible donation here.

4 Students with Autism Receive College Scholarships; 30 Recipients in 5 Years

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Kerry Magro, an adult with autism and Founder/President of KFM Making a Difference (a New Jersey based non-profit corporation), announced his organization’s award of college scholarships to four young adults with autism; Alexander Gumm, Cameron Laventure, Leanne Libas, and Thomas Stokes. With this latest round of scholarship awards, Kerry Magro and KFM have now awarded thirty (30) scholarships to students with autism in the last 5 years.

As many students with autism graduate this spring, we celebrate their unique gifts through scholarships awarded by KFM Making a Difference, a non-profit organization that helps students with autism go to college. This year KFM is proud to award scholarships to Alexander Gumm (Minden, NV), Cameron Laventure (Charleston, SC), Leanne Libas (Lake Forest, CA) and Thomas Stokes (Lakeville, MN). These are KFM’s 2016 “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” winners!

“Our winners for the spring were phenomenal,” says Kerry Magro, founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference. “Each of their academic paths will lead to very promising careers. I have no doubt about it. We need to continue to provide support to our kids. We are all in this together. Hopefully, these scholarships will help them to continue to pursue their dreams…”

In fall of 2012, KFM Making a Difference launched its scholarship program. Thus far KFM has given out thirty (30) scholarships in total, helping 30 autistic adults to go to college. Kerry Magro, founder of KFM, is a producer of social media and digital content at Autism Speaks, a professionally certified motivational speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant and television talk show host. Kerry was diagnosed with autism at age four. Today, Kerry travels the country to share his story about autism and to support other autistic kids on their roads through life.

Today, according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism while more than 500,000 young individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. A few years ago U.S. News & World Report highlighted KFM Making a Difference as one of the only non-profits to give out scholarships to adults with autism in the U.S pursuing a post-secondary program.

KFM Making a Difference has now decided to do something different with the addition of a summer scholarship application to coincide with the scholarship applications that already happen annually in the spring and fall semesters. The deadline for the “2016 Summer Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” will be Monday, August 29th at Midnight U.S Eastern Standard Time. You can find the application here.

This scholarship fund is funded entirely through the generous donations of members in our community. You can help their scholarship program moving forward by making a tax-deductible donation here.

Inspiring Adult with Autism Hopes to be the Temple Grandin of Her Generation

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This guest Q&A post is with my dear friend Dani Bowman, a young adult with autism who founded her company, Powerlight-Studios at age 11. Now 20, she has worked professionally in the animation industry since 14, premiering 5 award wining animated short films at San-Diego Comic-Con each year for the past 4 years, that include voice overs of Joe Mantegna, Tom Kenny (Sponge Bob), and Stella Ritter in her projects, as well as other voice actors on the autism spectrum. Knowing the special talents of people with autism, Dani employs others on the spectrum at Power Light Animation Studios as musicians, artists, and voice actors. Dani combined her six passions, Autism Advocacy, Public Speaking, Animation, Illustration, Fine and Visual Arts, and Teaching Animation to young adults on the spectrum and other disabilities in hopes to inspire them to follow their dreams.

Dani for her efforts won a scholarship through our organization KFM Making a Difference and was on our list of 10 Inspirational People with Autism.

Kerry: Hi Dani! Can you share with our readers a bit about your journey on the autism spectrum?

Dani: When I was first diagnosed with autism, the doctors told my parents that I would never amount to anything, that I may never speak, that I may never graduate high school, that I may probably need care all of my life, and that I may had to be place into an institution.

After I was first diagnosed, I was put into special Ed since age 5. Although Special Ed may seem helpful, it did not challenge me as much as general Ed. And when I took my first general Ed English class in the 11th grade, I realized I was way behind with my studies; nevertheless, I kick up the storm and got an “A”.

I did graduate high school…with a 4.0 and honors, and I am attending Woodbury University as a junior this semester with majors, Animation and Business. I’m taking a business major because I need to learn the business-side of how to run my animation company. And as for not amounting into anything, I started my company when I was 11 years old, and it’s been successful for the past 6 years. I illustrated and published 5 books, and I premiered 5 animated shorts at San Diego Comic-Con each year.

I also travel around the country teaching animation to children on the autism spectrum.

I’m a public speaker, speaking around the country including my keynoting last year’s conference, OCALICON in November 2014, and speaking alongside Temple Grandin in May 2015, an event about autism and employment, and this fall I will be keynoting at the Oklahoma Autism State Conference. Just to name a few.

My life’s goal is to change the world’s perception of Autism, and show the potential that individuals with autism like me have, and to follow your dreams on or off the spectrum, but always have a plan B.

You certainly wear many hats in our community! What is one of your favorite parts you like about being an autism advocate today?

My favorite part about being an autism advocate is inspiring my peers on the autism spectrum, it’s great when they come up to me and tell me that I changed their lives by something I said in a speech or watching what I do, or something I said to them personally.

You’ve done so much with autism & film from your cartoons and film camps. Do you think our community is doing a good enough job of portraying autism in film and television?

I don’t think so, though there are some TV shows and films that include characters with autism including an autobiography film about Temple Grandin. When I watched the autobiography, it blew my mind, seeing how filmmakers did a great job of how they portray Temple’s life so accurate enough to help me understand that anything is possible.

Despite commercial and critical successes, there should be more films and TV shows that portray the positive sides of autism.

At this point other than Temple Grandin, it seems like we’re mainly portrayed in a bad light, they need to show more the positive side of autism because there are a lot of us, who even though have struggles with autism, we are succeeding. We are not all a tragic story.

We know you’ve done some amazing work with Joey Travolta! How did that relationship come about?

Joey and I first met in 2009 when I started my animation company. I pitched some of my work to him, and he was blown away by my work. Even though he could not help me produce my work, I asked him “How can help you?” and so he had me teach animation to his students on the spectrum at his film camps. Then the following year, he hired me to travel around the country with his crew, teaching animation at his film camps.

What can we expect from you next?

My first day of Woodbury University will start in two weeks, and this November I will be speaking at the Oklahoma State Autism Conference about my journey on the autism spectrum, how my school life have been, and how did I started my animation company (and how it became successful for 6 years). And I will be working on my next animated short to premiere next year at Comic-Con since I have an open slot each year, but ultimately my goal is to make my company Power Light Animation Studios as large as Disney or Warner Bros, but in a autism/disabilities friendly environment. That is my ultimate goal.

You can learn more about Dani by following her through the links below…

Follow Dani on Facebook

Follow Dani on Twitter

I Have Autism and Have Never Let Anything Get in the Way of My Dreams

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Rachel is a pageant girl with a ton of heart who’s showing our community that you don’t have to be defined your disability! Rachel currently is a singer, actress, model, writer and an autism advocate. When she three she was diagnosed PDD-NOS and another doctor later diagnosed her with Asperger’s. This year she graduated from high school with distinction and honors as well as winning the Principle’s award. Rachel was also the latest recipient of the Spring 2015 Honorable Mention Scholarship Award Winner from KFM Making a Difference.

We recently talked to Rachel about what’s she been up too in the pageant world, and as an autism advocate…

Kerry: Hey Rachel! Can you please tell us a bit about how you get involved in the autism community?

Rachel: I have been involved in the autism community from a young age. My mom always tried to get me involved in things to improve my social skills and help me be the best I could be. I started volunteering and working with The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities when I was 14.

How did getting involved with pageants become an interest to you?

I got involved in pageants because my mom was looking for a way to get me out of the house and to help with social skills and make friends. We went to social skills groups but there were mostly boys there and we didn’t have a lot in common. I also had very low self esteem. The pageants I have been involved in teach girls a lot of valuable life skills. I have heard it compared with playing a sport. We learn to work together. The competition is not against each other, but more to do your own personal best with the help of your friends. They have taught me how to be articulate and to speak and sing in front of an audience and have taught me interview skills that have helped me and will continue to help as I look for a job. Also I have created my platform the ability beyond disabilities because of pageantry and have been able to create even more autism awareness around the entire state.

We heard you recently graduated from high school! What advice would you share to other high school students with autism who are currently pursuing graduation?

For kids in high school, I would say, work hard and do your best. Find a group or club that interests you because thats a great way to make friends! For me I loved drama and choir and found people with similar interests and made friends. All of us have different interests but most high schools have a lot of clubs and activities to participate in. Most importantly though remember to be yourself! I am so pleased to be starting college this fall.

What do you hope to be able to do when you grow up both in your personal career and also as an autism advocate?

I am going to pursue my PhD in psychology as well as become a sign language interpreter. I am going to do my prerequisites at St. Petersburg College and after two years transfer to the University of South Florida. I intend to work with children with disabilities when I graduate from College. I am also currently working on a book series called “Klementine Castle.” I am hoping to see it published! I am also planning to continue being an autism advocate, and would love to travel the country to speak at conventions and autism events.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I believe that everyone has a valuable part on this earth. Some of us have to go about things in different ways. I have never let other people define what my dreams should be and I have been fortunate to have a supportive family. I truly believe I can show the world that those of us with differing abilities may have to walk a different path but don’t have to be determined by the depth and breadth of our dreams. I want to continue to be involved with autism advocacy and break the stereotype of autism and be able to show people with disabilities that their dreams can come true!

You can learn more about Rachel by clicking on the links below…

Follow Rachel on Facebook

Follow Rachel on Twitter

Follow Rachel on Instagram

Graduation Rates Increase for High School Students with Disabilities

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The U.S. Department of Education has released new numbers that show that the graduation rate for those with disabilities has risen for the third year in a row. As reported from Disability Scoop the new number indicates that 63.1 percent of high school students with disabilities in the United States in the 2013-2014 school year graduated.

U.S Secretary of Educate Arne Duncan said on the increase, “The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college.”

Read more at Disability Scoop here.

With college being a possibility for more students with disabilities, we hope you will consider making an end of the year tax-deductible donation to KFM Making a Difference, a non-profit organization that’s given scholarships to 20 students with autism for college in the past 4 years. With your support, we are helping more of these students go to college everyday. Help make a difference for our community today here.

2015 in Review: 7 Students with Autism Receive Scholarship Aid for College

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Thanks to the generous donations of members in our community we were able to reward 7 scholarships to students with autism for college in 2015. This was part of our Spring 2015 Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship Program which is ran through KFM Making a Difference, a non-profit that focuses on helping the special needs community. The students who were awarded scholarships were Chantel Tavares (from Orlando, FL), Jacob Schweppe (from Kewanee, IL), Brandon Lang (from Redwood City, CA) Rachel Barcellona (Palm Harbor, FL), Christopher Hoskins (Beavercreek, OH), Michael Kirouac (Burlington, Ontario), and Christopher Oh (North Palm Beach, FL). The Fall 2015 winners will be announced on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Since 2011 we’ve awarded 20 scholarships for students with autism to attend college. You can learn more about applying for our scholarship program for 2016 here.

Six Students with Autism Receive Scholarships for College in 2016

Kerry Magro, an adult with autism and Founder/President of KFM Making a Difference (a New Jersey based non-profit corporation), announced his organization’s award of college scholarships to six young adults with autism; Talia Anderson, Chris Fegley, Leora Robbins, Spencer Agabiti, Lucas Brodsky and Clarin G. Paap III. With this latest round of scholarship awards, Kerry Magro and KFM have now awarded twenty (26) scholarships in the last 4 years.

Celebrating their 4-year Anniversary since their non-profit received 501 © 3 status, KFM Making a Difference is helping several young autistic adults make their dreams of going to college a reality. Talia Anderson (from Cape Coral, FL.), Chris Fegley (from Suffolk, VA.) and Leora Robbins (Atlanta, GA.) are showing the world the potential of those in the autism community. These three amazing young adults have been selected as the winners of the fall 2015 “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” from the KFM organization. In addition, KFM Making a Difference is giving out three honorable mention scholarships to Spencer Agabiti (from Ringoes, NJ.), Lucas Brodsky (Gurnee, IL.) and Clarin Paap III (Modesto, CA.).

“We saw a record number of applications for our fall scholarship,” says Kerry Magro, founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference. “With these six (6) scholarships, we hope to help these young adults pursue a post-secondary education…”

In fall of 2012, KFM Making a Difference launched its scholarship program. Today KFM has now given out twenty-six (26) scholarships in total, helping 26 autistic adults to go to college. Kerry Magro, who turns 28 later this month, started KFM Making a Difference in 2009 while in College at Seton Hall University. What most don’t know about Kerry is that he was diagnosed with autism at 4. Today, Kerry is an accredited professional speaker and best-selling author who travels the country discussing autism and disability related issues.

Today, according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism while more than 500,000 young individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. Last year U.S. News & World Report highlighted KFM Making a Difference as one of the only non-profits to give out scholarships to adults with autism in the U.S pursuing a post-secondary program: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-scholarship-coach/2014/04/17/find-college-scholarships-that-support-students-with-autism

KFM Making a Difference will now be looking ahead to its Spring 2016 scholarship application period, anticipating award of scholarships to additional talented autistic adults from the community. The deadline for this scholarship will be Monday, May 2nd, at Midnight U.S Eastern Standard Time. For more information on KFM Making a Difference and how you can apply for the next scholarship please go to www.kerrymagro.com/spring-2016-autism-scholarship-application-opens/ for more details.

This scholarship fund is funded entirely through the generous donations of members in our community. You can help their scholarship program moving forward by making a tax-deductible donation at http://bit.ly/AutismScholarship2016.