Self-acceptance is hard, especially when you feel different than everyone else.
Bronson Layton’s parents never wanted him to experience this, even if it meant hiding something from him for 13 years. They thought if Bronson knew he had autism, his self-esteem would plummet. But their incredible son is proving them wrong every day!
He was 2 years old when his parents began noticing some behavioral signs of autism. They took him to a child psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with pervasive development disorder, a form of autism that affects a person’s ability to think, speak, socialize, and process information. That’s when his parents decided to keep the news from him.
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“My diagnosis was in 1999, a time when autism was still not commonly understood and was still being observed,” Bronson explained in a Facebook post. “My parents were initially shocked at this revelation … but they (and I) were not prepared for how the following events positively changed our lives forever.”
As Bronson got older and entered school, he noticed that other children answered questions and finished their homework much faster than he did. But when his school made accommodations for him, he flourished academically.
While he used to avoid social interactions, his mom convinced him to join his marching band. The experience boosted his confidence so much that he began exploring more, which led him to discover his talent for creative writing. He started helping his classmates with their essays and even shared his own creations in class!
It wasn’t until he was 15 that Bronson finally learned the truth about himself by stumbling across paperwork from his psychiatrist visit all those years ago. But instead of feeling betrayed, he felt compassion.
“My parents kept it from me because they thought it would affect my self-esteem to the point that I felt like a freak to others, but I wasn’t mad at them. I understood why they’d hide this from me because they really love me, and ever since then, I’ve accepted who I am, and I use my talents to help others who need a friend.”
He has since graduated from high school — as class president and valedictorian! These days, the 22-year-old is working on his master’s degree in English to become a professor.
What’s more, Bronson runs the YouTube channel Brons Over Brains, which raises autism awareness and encourages people on the spectrum to accept themselves. He shares a variety of videos, from cooking to LEGO building sessions!
If there’s one thing Bronson wants people to take away from his story, it’s to embrace being different!
“Everyone, including the parents of children with autism, you are all on the right path in life, no matter how different you think you are from other people,” he wrote. “Being different is never a bad thing. We are all unique in our own way, because that’s the adventure of being human.”
We all need to hear those powerful words! We’re so happy Bronson is showing himself the love he deserves — and helping the people around him do the same!
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