In the 1960s when Stephen Shore was just a toddler, doctors thought he was so sick that they recommended institutionalization. Diagnosed with “atypical development and strong autistic tendencies,” he couldn’t functionally communicate until he was four.
But as Truth Atlas reports, young Stephen was special. Despite having autism, he was able to defy what many other people thought he was incapable of. At the incredibly young age of four, he could take a watch apart and fully put it back together. When he was in the third grade, he was reading books on astronomy completely on his own. And, with the help of his devoted parents and teachers, by the time he got into higher grades he was able to succeed academically in school. Eventually, he attained a masters in music at Boston University and later earned a doctorate in education. (Learn more about his fascinating journey in the video above.)
Now a special education professor at Adelphi University, Dr. Shore uses his own experiences with a learning disability to help people with autism live fulfilling lives.
With autism being one of the fastest growing disabilities in the country (about one in 88 children fall somewhere on the spectrum), educators such as Dr. Shore are invaluable to the autistic community because he knows exactly what it’s like to suffer from the disorder. He told Truth Atlas, “It’s my desire to share my personal experience, combined with educational, practical and research and putting it all together to do what I can to help people with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives to their greatest potential.” Going by his own remarkable story, he’s proof that anything is possible.