As Autism Awareness Month comes to an end, the Kids & Dreams Foundation has really tried to share the facts, stats and symptoms that children on the spectrum have. The other hope we have is to show everyone that individuals that are experiencing autism shouldn’t stop setting their goals HIGH!

Thanks to a friend on our Facebook page that brought this article to my attention (written by John Lauritsen from WCCO-TV), I would like to introduce you to Ben Cousins. Ben is a college student at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He has autism and wrestles at the Division III school.

Things didn’t start out great for Ben. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and a half. By 5th grade, he weighed about 200 pounds and says that his autism caused him to act out and struggle in school. He even struggled with sensory issues that made him scared of physical touch (which makes this story even more impressive!).

Around the age of 11, he decided to get into exercising more. He would ride an exercise bike for 10 minutes a night and have his mom watch as he did 180 sit-ups a night. As he got older, he decided to go out for wrestling. He was good at it! He set a goal to qualify for the state tournament. His senior year he accomplished that goal!

He did so well in high school, he was recruited to wrestle at Concordia. He took his lumps and had to adjust, but set another goal (or more like a DREAM). He was focused on qualifying for the Division III National Tournament. Well, this year, during his junior season wrestling at 157 pounds, he accomplished that goal….DREAM!

Ben had a great experience at the national tournament even though he lost both of his matches. He wants his accomplishments to encourage parents who have kids with autism to never give up! He said, “They will love themselves more and they will love everyone around them more, because they have the confidence in themselves and they will be very good at what they do.”

Ben’s mom states…”Autism is not an embarrassment for Ben anymore. It’s something where he is proud to say he has autism.”

Ben’s ultimate DREAM…….winning a national title next year during his last collegiate season! Good luck Ben! We will be cheering you on from Nebraska!

Another incredible story about a young individual with autism that has done great things. Our mission at the foundation continues to be a positive influence for families and provide support & resources for them to help their children reach their full potential in life! Together we WILL make a difference and see more stories like the one about Ben! Continue to “DREAM BIG!”

Information from this story was provided by John Lauritsen from WCCO-TV and the link below…..

#autism #awareness #dreambig #kidsanddreams #500forautism