Man Diagnosed with Autism Set to Graduate College
MERCEDES – Most adults in their 20s face challenges like navigating college, trying to find a career and manage a social life. But for adults with autism, the journey is even more difficult.
“People tell you you’re not going to amount to nothing and in the end, maybe we all can amount to something,” Jordan Reyes said. The 28-year-old is living with autism.
His father, Sergio Reyes, never beat around the bush about his son’s autism.
“I’ve always been honest with him. He’s always known. I’ve always told him we’re all different, you’re special,” he said.
When Jordan was asked what autism was, he responded, “I guess being smart in a few things and not being social in another aspect.”
Jordan said it was the social limitations that made his high school experience difficult. He wrote about it in an essay entitled, “Taking the High Road", where he described the bullying he endured and how he learned from it.
“No one’s ever broken his spirit. And I don’t think anybody ever will. And as a parent, I’m very proud of him,” Reyes said.
Jordan will graduate with an associate’s degree from South Texas College in Weslaco this summer. He plans to live in the dorms at UTRGV in the fall and study biology.
“I just want to let people know that hey, these kids can achieve everything. It just takes time,” his father said. “And for me, it’s a scary part because he’s getting ready to move away from home, but it’s also a good moment because again, we’re achieving another goal we were told was never going to happen.”
Jordan already has big plans after he gets his bachelor’s degree. He said he wants to make Mercedes a better place to live.
“I wanted to run for mayor to make sure everyone was included and that some of the poor were taken care of. However, I found out the mayor doesn’t do much and the city commissioner does a lot more. So I decided, probably after I graduate, to run for city council,” he said.
He was already improving the city when CHANNEL 5 NEWS first met him two years ago, directing us to get tattered flags in town replaced and disposed of properly.
At the time, we were impressed with his attention to detail and with his talent of fixing electronics. Jordan believes in himself in spite of the negativity from others. He said he knows he’ll face new challenges as he grows more independent from his father. And he’s ready to face them head on.
“It’s the meaning of life to experience change and to see changes in society. Maybe one day you can be that change,” he said.
“What I want people to know is, when you see someone like this, instead of shying away from them, learn how to talk to them, learn how to bring out themselves. Once you find out who they are, they’re very intelligent people, they’re fun to talk to,” Reyes said.