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ASPartOfMe
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02 Jun 2021, 3:25 pm

Brooklyn Center graduate aims to reduce stigmas for autism

Quote:
Riley Hurley, a Brooklyn Center resident graduating from the city’s high school June 9, decided he wanted to study neuroscience when he was applying for an Act Six scholarship this year.

Hurley, who has autism, said the realization came while he was working to put together the video portion of the submission for the scholarship.

“‘Hi, I’m Riley Hurley, senior at Brooklyn Center, and I have autism!’ I got so good at saying (that),” he said. “I realized I wanted to do something – something for the neurodiverse communities and correct our societal reputations and massive misunderstandings.”

The Act Six scholarship program provides scholarships to students who want to make change in their community and attend a faith-based or social justice-based college after graduating from high school.

Earlier in the year, as a class exercise, Hurley wrote a mock essay for the written portion of scholarship application. After receiving positive feedback from his teacher, he submitted the essay, and was accepted to the second application phase, the video submission, which is intended to supplement the written portion.

After many takes recording the video outside in winter weather, he completed the final draft the night before it was due. “At last I hit that record button on my tripod and gave it all I got,” he said.

Soon, the organization contacted Hurley to tell him he had been accepted to the third and final application phase.

The response was “hype and high fives galore,” he said. “At this point (my mother and I) both started sharing the news – I made it to the final phase. This is actually insane.”

The final portion of the application process was a virtual campus visit. “I didn’t get the exact questions I practiced, which admittedly threw me off a bit, but clearly I nailed it because I apparently made my presence felt, despite being a screen apart.”

“I got the email. I was congratulated and welcomed to what they called their Act Six community,” he said.

The feeling was incredible, “even more so when teacher gossip really got around the school nearly immediately after, even the librarians heard and were as proud as my mother who cheered with me,” he said.

Act Six is providing Hurley with a full scholarship to Concordia University in St. Paul. He is planning to minor in mathematics.

The Act Six program also provides scholars with training and college success courses prior to beginning their post-secondary education.

The “extra work cannot compare to the benefit of the scholarship,” Hurley said. “I feel like it’ll bring me a significant advantage in life.”

With a neuroscience degree, Hurley wants to show that “the neurodiverse communities are not bad to be in,” he said. “Think about it, autism alone is barely considered a disorder because it’s really about lacking social skills and customs. It can even be heavily outweighed by the benefits.”

Hurley said he looks forward to eventually researching mental phenomena.

“I now want opportunities to research the neurodiverse communities to improve misunderstandings and improve their respective societal reputation,” Hurley added. “I’m bringing along personal experience and knowledge in the neurodiverse communities and differing viewpoints from most everyone else.”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


carlos55
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03 Jun 2021, 7:32 am

Quote:
. With a neuroscience degree, Hurley wants to show that “the neurodiverse communities are not bad to be in,” he said. “Think about it, autism alone is barely considered a disorder because it’s really about lacking social skills and customs. It can even be heavily outweighed by the benefits.”


Good luck to this young man of course though I suspect if he makes it to graduation he’ll find it very difficult to cling onto some of those Neurodiversity beliefs on autism quoted above.

Neuroscience or the study of the physical brain is a hard science where everything is subject to measurements and facts.

It doesn’t do niceties or coping strategies think e=mc sq and doesn’t care how someone feels about it.

The hard reality of autism as a real disability will be a bridge he will shortly have to cross.