First of all, I was diagnosed as high functioning autistic at the age of 9, when the number of kids diagnosed was 1 in 10,000 high functioning. This meant I could do well academically, but socially I had trouble getting the courage to talk to anyone. The differences between me and those around me didn't make themseleves apparent to me at the time, but for many years before my parents saw them. Looking back on it, there were times that was so bad with social situations I didn't even want to say the teacher's name out of fear or ask to go to the bathroom because I thought they would say no. Despite this, I continued to accel in academics, kind of a "sport" you could say I competed in. As elementary school ended I started to get what we call fallouts. Many times I would get upset over times when everyone got punished for a few's mistakes. That said , I would cry in the corner holding those sentiments. Later on in middle and High School I would get that way still, but I would try to work it out with myself, and try to see it from the teacher's point of view. I needed my Dad less and less though he would still come to my progress meetings with special ed facilitators. As this time progressed, I saw the autism as a part of me, but I continued to progress enough until, when someone looked at me, they couldn't even tell.
Through all of this, something troubled my parents. Given what I had, and the difficulties with it, they wondered if I would ever graduate High school. From the get go, I proved many people wrong. The chance arose that I wouldn't have been able to live a very normal life. The social problems didn't deter me from graduating and in the end I was able to graduate with a 4.2 GPA and with an advanced diploma. Then came college. There were still things that I had to have accomodations for, like tests, but I didn't need that sometimes. It wasn't easy getting through some of these classes, but I got through them, and was able to in 4 years graduate from junior college with a 3.64 GPA, enough for high honors.
It was around the beginning of college that I started into the Christmas Jars program. I mentioned that it started out in a Sunday school class I was in. In my ability with math and like seeing how high some numbers get, I took on the challenge. In doing so, I wanted to make sure there wasn't a week without money going in it since it took the entire year to do. So with some benefits of the autism and the ability for me to care about some things more than maybe is necessary. I'm a little obsessive. I kept going along with my classmates, inspiring someone else in our class to do one on her own. Since then I have done 10 jars in the last 5 years, splitting them evenly into two the first year, two the second year, four in the third year, and three in the fourth year. For this year I am planning on 5 jars, breaking my record of approximately $228.70. By the end of the year I should have $250, and in raising enough next year I I hope to get a total of $1000 for all 6 years. If there is any one thing that keeps me going is that it is something to do, and trips to the grocery store and the gas station get me out of the house.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Christmas Jars Story: 'I have done 10 jars in the last 5 years'
Readers, I am delighted to share this very special Christmas Jars story. It's from an incredible man in Nevada who embraces the spirit of the Christmas Jar as well as anyone I've ever met. If I could have one wish, it would be that everyone believed in the magic of the jar as much as Daniel does.