We want you to meet Maverick. A man who inspires anyone, diagnosed with Autism or not, to live to their potential no matter the circumstances. It will make you rethink what you believe are obstacles and hold compassion for others whose journey came from a road less traveled. We think he is a man worth meeting! – Jennifer Allen/Aspergers101
My name is Maverick L. Crawford III, and I was born in April (same month is Autism Awareness Month). I remembered how odd and wired I appeared to be compared to my other siblings. My behavior starting at six months was repetitive and restricted, every day I would hide from everyone and not play with my siblings.
I want to help, support and inspire others on the autism spectrum to not give up or lose hope no matter what you are going through, keep pushing, keep striving, keep persevering to the end there will be a greater reward.
The movement of doors as they open and close was fascinating to me. Any of my toys that were rectangles, I would stack in a specific order as high as possible. If I were not playing with toys, I would entertain myself by hand flapping and be flushing the toilet and watching the water flow down the commode. As a child, I would stay to myself and not respond to my name.
When my mother or siblings touch or find me somewhere in the house, I would have a temper tantrum. I would suck my ring finger through the day and night as it provided a sense of comfort. Early in my life, I could not understand social interaction (and try to avoid it), nonverbal communication and never maintain eye contact. My mother did not fully understand what was going with me and relied on doctors and professionals to deal with my issues.
I was born an abnormally thick line that connected my tongue to the bottom of my mouth, which is called a tongue-tie. The pain from this tongue-tie was unbearable so much, so I had trouble eating and keeping food down without getting sick. After years of the pain caused by this deformity, I had tongue clip surgery in 1999 at the age of three. Later that year I was diagnosed speech impediment, mental retardation, dysphasia (serve language and speech disorder), autism, attention deficit disorder and having multiple seizures. Being a child with various disabilities like autism brought stress upon my mother because she did not know what approach to take in dealing with the issues I had. Me being the only one with multiple disabilities out of my sibling, I felt like a stranger in my family and unfortunately treated differently.
Going to school was a nightmare. I was constantly bullied and placed away in special education until I graduated from high school. The bullying consisted of teasing, physical and verbal attacks that I received from students, family members, and teachers.
Most all of my growing up years consisted of bullying, physical abuse, mental abuse and torture by the hand of those assigned to raise me.
I went to stay at a homeless shelter where suicide continues to contemplate in my mind because I felt that there was no purpose for me to live. All I had was a white shirt and blue shorts sleeping outside in the cold weather with nothing but a mat and a bath towel to keep me warm. Before Haven for Hope, I slept out on bus stops downtown, hiding in small areas in the central library downtown, sleeping in the grass, on the ground or in remote locations downtown so that I would not be bothered by anyone. I would wake up with pink eye, ear infection and other problems due to sleeping outside. Going to school was a challenge because I had to carry my belongings everywhere I went because there were no lockers.
After everything I went through, I managed to finish and graduate from St. Philips College with an associate’s degree and 3.7 GPA. Teachers and staff in college provided me confront and support through my journey as a person with autism and recovering from abuse. Now, I’m a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a 3.5 GPA expecting to graduate in May of 2018 with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice, Public Administration and a minor in Civic Engagement. I will not allow the past to stop me from pursuing my goals and autism has been the number one component to my success in school. I remain humble in spirit and stick to my primary objective of trying my best daily by taking small steps. I want to help, support and inspire others on the autism spectrum to not give up or lose hope no matter what you are going through, keep pushing, keep striving, keep persevering to the end there will be a greater reward. Always be proud of your autism because you are unique and special in your way, no matter what any doctor, parent, students, siblings or anybody tells you.
by: Maverick L Crawford III
Latest posts by Jennifer Allen (see all)
- Sensory Processing Disorder Explained - June 18, 2018
- Asperger Syndrome: Independent Living - June 4, 2018
- Autism and My Path Through Life: Presented by Dr. Temple Grandin - May 24, 2018
- Top of the Spectrum News: Meltdowns - May 22, 2018
- Ode to the Special Needs Mom - May 21, 2018