PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A St. Lucie County man diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and speech delay is facing his challenges head-on.
William Andrew Rose is thanking the people who had a positive impact on his life through a new book called "Amazing Grace, Amazing Gifts: Autism and the Gifts God Granted Along Our Journey."
In the book, the 27-year-old chronicled his life after being diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was 2 years old.
"I took my time in terms of being able to listen to a lot of my professors and being able to get a lot of their knowledge so that I could be able to absorb it as my own knowledge," Andrew Rose said.
In his book, he thanks several teachers and leaders at his church, Christ Fellowship.
But his biggest mentor is his mom, who found resources to get him speech therapy and work on his social skills.
"I started involving him in more after-school activities so he would have that time that would allow him to be able to make friends," said mother Terri Cunningham Rose.
She also noticed his art skills.
"At the age of 10, William told me he wanted to write his story one day," Cunningham Rose said.
That's when she started writing about her son's life in a journal. She now has 20 journals.
"So, what we did in the book is we shared all of the resources that we utilized to help him," Cunningham Rose said.
Andrew Rose said one day he wants to be a graphic artist and is confident he will achieve his goal.
"I encourage you to keep defeating the odds because no matter whatever odds are against you, you have to make sure you are able to be above them all," Andrew Rose said.
"I am proud of him. I'm thankful he did have an opportunity to go to college because when he was young the neurologist told me that he would not be able to do anything. He said, 'This is it. This is all you are going to get,' and I refused to accept that," Cunningham Rose said.
"He got his degree from Palm Beach State College before I got mine. And yet he wanted me to be his mentor. I went on and got my degree because I needed to be an example, and William was an example for me," said John E. Johnson III of the Toastmasters Club At Palm Beach State College.
Click here to order "Amazing Grace, Amazing Gifts: Autism and the Gifts God Granted Along Our Journey." On the site, visitors can also donate to the Special Olympics.