Have you ever wondered if nonverbal autism can prevent someone from becoming a UCLA student? Well, the answer is a resounding no! Meet Woody Brown, a young man diagnosed with autism at two and currently a student at the renowned University. Ever since he was a little boy, Woody did not get the needed services and support to succeed in the classroom until he was in seventh grade. “He was told he would never be able to read,” says Mary Brown, Woody’s mom.
Nevertheless, he fought against all odds and thanks to her mom’s support, who would teach him, read to him and try to figure out how to get the people at the school to recognize he was a valid learner. I thought there must be a way out to show that he can learn,” said .”And so that’s what I spent his childhood doing — teaching him, reading to him and trying to figure out how to get the people at the school to recognize he was a valid learner” Say, Mary Brown.
Woody’s tenacity ultimately paid off; he earned a high school diploma before attending Pasadena City College. After that, he decided to take the plunge and applied to UCLA. And he got in! Woody is a happy college student who loves learning new things and spending time with friends. In fact, according to CBS LA, Woody earned the highest writing honors at the University.
The 24-year-old will make you believe anything is possible this month when he graduates as the first nonverbal student to attend UCLA and receive the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Achievement. When asked about his success, Woody says that he achieved this remarkable feat thanks to being organized and disciplined. He also says he wants to be an example for others with autism and show them that they can do anything they want.
We couldn’t agree more! Woody’s story is a shining example that nonverbal autism doesn’t have to be a roadblock to success! As a therapist, I am so proud of Woody and everything he has accomplished because, as we all know, life’s journey is not always easy. But with dedication and determination, anything is possible! We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we need to be perfect. But the truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect human. We are all perfectly imperfect human beings, and that is what makes us special and unique.
What matters is that we never give up on ourselves and continue to strive for our goals and dreams. Otherwise, we would never know what we are capable of achieving.
Some people might see Woody’s story and think, “Well, he’s lucky that he was able to go to UCLA despite being nonverbal.” But the truth is that Woody’s success is not due to luck. It’s due to his hard work, dedication and determination. I hope his story will inspire other people with non-autism to never give up on their dreams & always fight for what they want in life. Always stay positive and keep fighting for your dreams!