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Jake Crosby on Having Asperger's and Being a Brandeis U Student

JAKE Managing Editor's Note: Below is Jake Crosby's article from the Brandeis University Magazine, see the original HERE.

It’s not easy being a student at Brandeis with Asperger Syndrome — an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In ninth grade, however, aspiring to attend Brandeis would have been impossible. My ASD got in the way of every aspect of learning and socialization. I could not stay focused in class — not for more than 30 seconds, according to my English teacher’s report for my individual education plan meeting. But this was nothing new; these problems had affected me my whole life.

Everything changed dramatically in February 2004. I was in a freshman history class, and suddenly I found myself participating and even dominating class discussions. Until then, I had never raised my hand or answered a question unless unexpectedly called on, in which case I would not know the answer. I needed an aide nearly full time to keep me on task. But now, for the first time in my life, I could truly function independently. It felt like a part of my mind that had been turned off was suddenly switched on. Teachers and staff at my high school expressed amazement at my success story — they’d never heard of anyone else with ASD making such progress. Sophomore year I was placed in all honors classes and began taking a foreign language.

Inspiration helped make this transformation possible. Another student in the class had similar difficulties staying on task and joining in class discussions. I recognized some of my own problems in him, and I badly wanted to change my academic performance.



Yet inspiration alone was not enough. I had wanted to make this change my whole life, failing at every previous attempt. All of the drugs I took to improve my attention gave me horrible side effects. Then about three weeks before my dramatic change, I began taking injections of methylated B-12 — a vitamin with a wide degree of reported success in autistic children. I believe I owe my college career to it and all my other supplements.

If getting into college was hard, adapting to college life was a whole new challenge. I was severely impacted by suddenly being three hours from my home in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Unlike high school, most of college life takes place outside the classroom — time that I suddenly had to fill. I killed a lot of downtime in monotonous hours online (developing an Internet addiction I still struggle with). I had to learn to remind myself to turn work in on time and to take my vitamins.

Socially, college introduced a whole new world of temptations. In high school, I only went to one party. Freshman year of college, there were suddenly tons of parties. I crashed parties held by complete strangers, who didn’t seem to mind. Parties and alcohol did not solve my social problems, however, and by sophomore year I kicked the habit altogether.

Yet my autism spectrum disorder remained a deep, dark secret to all my professors and peers. I was afraid of being labeled and stigmatized. Sophomore year, for the first time in my life, I felt comfortable enough to disclose my condition to other people. Most were understanding and supportive. Though this did not earn me any lasting friends, I at least felt I was no longer hiding anything.

During my junior year, I coplanned Autism Awareness Week, out of which I cofounded Spectrum — the first and only autism awareness organization at Brandeis. I then helped organize a series of events for Autism Awareness Month. By disclosing my ASD, I not only became more comfortable with myself, I was also able to help others learn about autism. What was once a source of considerable hindrance is now cause for pride and strength — for all that I accomplished in spite of the obstacles thrown my way, and for my unique position to share my experience on the autism spectrum.

Jake Crosby ’11 is majoring in history and in health: science, society and policy. He is a contributing editor to ageofautism.com.

Comments

Serena Hendricks

Thank you for sharing your personal story. I just made my 14 yo daughter an appointment to try mb-12 and she is very excited.

Autism Grandma

Re: "Then about three weeks before my dramatic change, I began taking injections of methylated B-12 — a vitamin with a wide degree of reported success in autistic children. I believe I owe my college career to it and all my other supplements."

Jake thank you Mr. Wonderful for sharing this. I often wondered when reading your amazing articles, what therapies enabled you to become so articulate and so engaged in your communication skills. Yes, the therapies greatly increased your abilities, but YOU took off like a flying saucer and did the work YOURSELF!!! How many young men who never had any kind of challenge like you endured have taken their natural abilities for granted, and couldn't hold a candle to you.

THANK YOU for another great article and THANK YOU for all you do for our community. You are the proverbial diamond in the rough who chiseled your way into becoming a beautiful jewel.

Michelle Adams-Upchurch

Jake,

Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so happy for your sucess. Something so simple was able to help you so much. My daughter is autistic. Would you please share where you get your B12 and if there were any special tests or a special doctor that helped you?

Thank You,
Michelle

Cat Jameson

Jake! I was just wondering about you this past weekend. It's been awhile since I read one of your posts and I was a little worried about you. Thanks for sharing this article--it sounds like you are doing well as you continue to help others around you. Great job!

Cat

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Jake, This is a wonderful article- Very useful to me. In India I try to guide parents of autistic kids, but I dont want to give either too much hope or too little hope. I also wonder which treatments and supplements to urge parents to use, as it is going to be difficult and expensive for most parents and I dont want them to be disappointed. Lately I had been wondering if I should urge parents to try the methyl B 12 injections. Like Benedetta, I would appreciate any more details . And I would also urge you to try the Cutler protocol. Anything that can get the mercury out safely, is the key to true healing.
Jake, please stay with the autism movement. The future of children around the world depends on people like you.

Jacey

Jake, Your voice is what resonates through the Autism Community. Thank you for blazing a trail for our kids! Like the biomedical moms who have gone before me, young adults like you will be the symbol of inspiration and hope for all those with ASD.
Love your voice, your tenacity, and determination to make a change in our world. People are listening....so keep speaking!! We are behind you!
Much gratitude for brave people like you,
Jacey Capurso
Mom to Alec, Age 8

Henderson

Go Jake Go!

I dream that one day my child can be this thoughtful, insightful and hardworking.

Whenever you are feeling down, remember you have a real, a very real, cheering section - who care very much how you are doing. In fact, I'd be happy to be the head cheerleader.

I'm to the point where I cannot wait to hear your latest insights on your University experience (and not only here, but other blogs as well). And, I cannot wait for the next chapter - after University.

Go Jake Go! Go Fight Win!

Mike Sullivan

Jake -- it's always inspiring to read your articles, invaluable demonstrative evidence of how pens are mightier than pin pricks.

Theodora Trudorn

Thank you Jeff! I'll have to look into that! :) Once again Jake, kudos!! Thanks for making us w/ AS lood good! :) (and I have to agree with some of the other comments on here when I say look good in more ways than one.) :)

Claudine Liss


I am so proud of you. You are an inspiration. (I see a bestseller in your future--keep a journal. Your story will help many.)

Jake Crosby

Thank you all for your comments of support and gratitude - they mean so much to me!

I wish everybody here the best of luck, and I hope the best for your children and grandchildren.

michelle santos

congratulations Jake on ur B12 success. you give hope to those families with the same case.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Jake,

You are a fantastic person. I love you for all the hope you offer parents of autistic children. You are an inspiration!

All the best,
Anne Dachel, Media editor

Anonym

Stay strong,focused and determined.Wish you
much success and all the very best in life.I bet your parents are very proud of your achievements.So good to read your story Jake.

kn

Jake,

I only know you through your writing @ age of autsim. You are an amazing person. You have a very bright future ahead of you. Keep persevering.

GrannyBlue

Jake, you are wonderful, you keep me hoping that someday our grandson, Jeremy, about your age, will be going your way. He was doing spectacularly with methylB12 and other supports, shooting from a 5th grade placement to get his GED to a college class. And then family members got him away from it to save him from those dangerous experimental medical treatments. He is now sitting alone in a litte house with nothing but sleeping, TV and his reading. He's so bright! He's a handsome 5'9" but weighs less than 100 lbs. Someday he can do it, too.

Denise

I am in tears of awe, you are awesome and inspiring. I can see my sons future in your story. I will keep your story for him to read some day.Thank you.

dixiediva

Thank you Jake! When most people are dwelling on the negative and wallowing on the downside of things, you are an uplifting influence and inspiration to everyone in this "community."
As parents, we often second guess our decisions and I'm truly grateful to you for sharing your experiences with us! Your parents must be very proud of you. I keep you in my prayers and wish you all the best. Keep up the good work. (Big Hug) <3

Jeff C.

Thanks for the great article, Jake. Reading your stuff has always been a pleasure, I never realized how much biomed had helped you. It is extremely reassuring to those of us pursuing a similar route for our children.

@Theodora Trudorn
I completely understand the fear of needles; I’ve despised the things since I was a child. In addition, some in my family already think we are practicing voodoo medicine on our son, so I was very reluctant to start the shots and add to that perception. We use the MB12 nasal spray and it has been fantastic. We saw dramatic improvement in our son, particularly in attention and emotion regulation. We have tried taking him off it a few times, after about three or four days he gets very spacey and the inappropriate behavior returns.

The nasal spray we use is prescription, but New Beginnings makes a product called Methyl-mate that is over the counter. The will send a nasal spray applicator complimentary if you ask for it when ordering (they can’t sell it as a nasal spray as a supplement). It’s about half the strength of the prescription version.

Lisa @ TACA

Jake - you are amazing.

I look at your picture and see a tremendous resemblance to my son Jeff and your photo - with about an 8 year difference. I am hopeful my son has even a small amout of your qualities/gifts.

Keep up the great work. It is appreciated.

JenB

Thank you, Jake, and congratulations on all you have accomplished! Not sure my daughter will make it to college, but you've got me hoping for that high school diploma, and then maybe, ... When it seems like the autism epidemic will be written out of history (or rewritten into the "new normal"), individuals like yourself give me hope that the better course will be taken.

casey

Thank you for being such a strong intelligent voice (and handsome face!) for our community!

Theresa O

Jake, thank you for this post. It is great to hear more of your story, and I wish you continued success.

cmo

Jake,

As a child of the "vaccine hell" of the early 90's, you have "returned much of the way..."

I assume many wonder what you were feeling 10 or 15 years ago as your parents were trying to find out what was wrong.

What treatments have been of the most value ?

Not an MD

Thank you for sharing your B-12 success with us. I have to say, though, that it must not be easy for you to have Asperger Syndrome and be as handsome as you are. The girls at school must be running after you with that adorable face of yours (not to mention your obvious intelligence). Sorry if this post makes you uncomfortable, but the truth is the truth.

Beth

Jake Crosby. Friggin amazing.

Debbie Voss

Absolutely gorgeous young man with a huge brain to boot! You are really inspirational Jake, keep up the good work!

polliwog

Jake,
Curious,,, did you ever get yourself properly tested for heavy metals? Immune, metabolic, or GI dysfunction? I'm wondering if you have an ASD or if you were misdiagnosed as so many kids are.
You are very handsome,,, nice to see your mug. Thanks for all you do for the children of the planet.

jen

thanks for sharing, Jake. Continued success to you. I love hearing about the supplements that make a difference to people.

Jill Justiss

Thank You Jake! I have a Jake of my own with Aspergers. He is 12 years old and not happy about all the vitamins I make him take. He just can't see the positive impact they have made. I am going to show him this article in hopes that this will encourage him and, hopefully, have a little more trust that his mom is doing the right thing. I Think we will have to refill that prescription for B12 injections as well. I am so happy for you and all your success.

Theodora Trudorn

I don't do the shots because I have a very deep abiding fear of needles. I do however do the following:

One A Day for women
A Multi- B Vitamin supplement
Fish Oil (for my legs)
Ginko Bilaboa (My miracle supplement! Changed my life!)
Vitamin C
Zinc for my spasm issues

Herbal Teas:
Chamomile for stress
White Willow Bark for my chronic pain
Feverfew Tops to relax muscles and control my spasms
Valerian Root for sleep
Rose hips, jasmine, lavendar for thier aroma therapy properties
dried acai berry to regulate digestion
green tea leaves for anti-oxidants and taste
Elethero root for relaxation

Of course I don't put all those in the tea at the same time! But I can multi-task far better, gotten far better with communication and my sensory issues don't seem as hiegtened.

I imagine the shots will help, but every time I get one I always feel really bad afterwards and it takes a while for me to recover, and I have an extreme phobia of needles.

Beneedetta

Thank You for writing about your experience, I have wondered for a long time about you and how it has gone for you. Sounds like it has been bittersweet!A very good article.

Jake:
1) Along with the methyl B 12 are you also watching your diet too?????
2) - why did you start getting B 12 shots. Did medical test show you were anemic?
3.) Why do you have B 12 shots and not the skin patch or under the tongue methyl B 12?---- have you tried these instead of shots, and if so how did they do compared to the shots?
4.) How often do you take the B 12 shots? ?


Allison

Thank you for sharing this with us Jake! I've told you already how helpful your advice has been to me regarding reintroducing MB-12 shots with my son CJ. Just to let you know, he's now asking for "BUM, BUM, BUM please" so I will give him a shot. LOL!

You are an inspiration to many! Keep writing on your personal experiences, you are one of the voices for our children who cannot express themselves as clearly as you have here. Thank you again!

Theodora Trudorn

It is always wonderful to see another fellow aspie doing so well after taking things into thier own hands.

Kudos sir! I salute you! :)

Deb in IL

Thank you, Jake! Lately I've been worrying about my almost 6 year old Aspie and this just reassured me he will be a success story, just like you.

Denice

Wow!

I knew Jake was smart and tenacious, but how handsome, too!

Jake, if supplementation and B-12 shots have made your life fuller, please consider Andrew Cutler's chelation protocol.

My son is very nearly off the "spectrum", and life for our whole family is much easier.

Maurine Meleck

This is so inspiring, Jake. I was truly happy to meet you at Autism One. Thanks, Maurine

Ginger Taylor

Love that Jake Crosby!

Sonja

Jake,

You are an inspiration to all of us with children on the spectrum. Your success is wonderful and hopeful.

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