Good news is hard to come by these days, especially with economic instability, global community wellness concerns, and mental health issues on the rise. The pandemic has changed our perspective on how the world works, enabling us to re-evaluate our place in it. So it’s heartening to know that there are good things happening, too. Everyone needs a little sunshine in their lives and this story has just that.
Three months ago, Xavier DeGroat was hired as a White House intern by the President. It is a coveted post, and even though there was nothing unusual about filling the position as an intern, there was one thing. Xavier is autistic. Nevertheless, the 30-year-old is a bright student at Northwood University. His studies include politics and communications. As the first autistic person to work in the White House, Xavier has been championing the causes of autistic individuals and works in the presidential correspondence office. In his capacity as an intern, Xavier’s main job is to reply to letters sent from the general public, addressed to the President.
Meeting with the President
Xavier’s first meeting with the President occurred in August of 2019 and the meeting was set up by President Tump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. In the meeting, President Trump and Xavier chatted for 30 minutes at the Oval Office. They covered various topics, especially with regard involving the hardships facing autistic people. Xavier explained that he wanted to contribute to making changes in the state and federal laws so that law enforcement personnel could have meaningful interactions with people with disabilities like autism, which would help to build a better understanding.
According to Guiliani, the President was impressed by Xavier’s sense of purpose and the work he was doing to help other people like himself. In fact, he said the President remarked that if he wasn’t told that Xavier was autistic, he would “not have even realized it.”
In an interview with Fox, Guilliani said: “I think he’s been good for the President and good for the White House.” He pointed out that there are many people who are not familiar with the symptoms of autism, and very often it’s difficult for people to understand the individuals who are struggling with this condition.
Guiliani stated that once people become aware of the actualities surrounding people with autism, their perspective changes for the better, making it easier for such people to function and interact more comfortably with the rest of the community.
Making his mark
Xavier has definitely been making huge strides in his endeavor to constantly improve the situation of others like him; he considers himself to be an “autism evangelist.” The Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation was set up by him in 2018. The organization is focused on giving autistic people greater opportunities to achieve their true potential and surmount the obstacles that prevent them from doing so.
Xavier believes he can make a difference and would like to be an “autism advisor,” serving subsequent presidents sworn into office.
Recently, a law was passed in Michigan to identify autistic individuals or people who have communication impediments with special identification on their license plates and papers.
Autism spectrum disorder can be identified in children below the age of three and its a disease with varying degrees of severity. Although there is no comprehensive cure for the condition, early detection and treatment can certainly make a significant difference in the quality of life for these individuals. People on the autism spectrum tend to have unique talents and often show a natural inclination to excel in the arts or even a specific niche of science.