Today’s guest is Ron Sandison, author of the very popular book “A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom”. Ron is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry and he also works full time in the medical field. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of American and has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University. He has over 10,000 Scriptures memorized including 22 complete books of the New Testament and is a public speaker. His work is impressive as is his drive and determination. I enjoyed getting to know Ron as I’m sure you will too. Please note you can find his contact information at the bottom of this page.
So without further ado, I present to you Ron Sandison.
Linda: Thanks so much Ron for being here and sharing your story with us. I read up on your work and it truly is impressive. You overcame many obstacles growing up and you always pushed forward, you never stopped. How old were you when you were officially diagnosed?
Ron: I was officially diagnosed with autism at age eight. When I entered kindergarten at age seven the Rochester School specialists labeled me as emotionally impaired. My mom refused this label and informed the professionals, “My son’s disability is not emotional but neurological.” She had me re-tested at Henry Ford Hospital and the neuropsychologist confirmed that my disability was indeed neurological and autism.
Linda: You mentioned that elementary and middle school were very difficult for you and you were bullied ruthlessly by your peers. How did you cope during that time and what advice would you give someone who is reading this and going through the exact same thing?
Ron: I coped with bullying by investing time in my hobbies of sports and video games. I would take my mind off school and bullying by playing baseball with my two friends and dad. I also loved to escape my emotional pain by going on long bike rides.
Some advice I would give to a child who is bullied is first tell a grownup who can help prevent the bullying. I also encourage a child who is bullied not to respond to the bully. I know this is easier said than done. The main thing a bully desires is a response. Sensory issues make us on the spectrum especially easy targets. Since we respond to bullying like carbonated Mountain Dew when shaken rather than typical children like bottled water. Third I encourage a child to find a mentor who is a few years older and also has experienced bullying. Bullies usually target a child who is alone and without peers.
Linda: That’s great advice Ron. You developed a new interest in the eighth grade that you excelled at- track. Were you always a great runner or was this something you discovered you were good at once you started?
Ron: My first love was always baseball. I could name every baseball player and also tell you his batting average and number of homeruns. In eighth grade I played on the football and wrestling teams to be in great shape for tryouts for the baseball team. When I did not make the baseball team with tears in my eyes, I asked the coach, “Why did I not make the team?” The coach smiled and said, “Ron, you are a great ball player but you are the fastest runner in the school. If you run track and cross country you will receive a scholarship to college for running.” I took his advice ran on the middle school track team and set three schools records.
Ron: God found me my junior year. My freshman and sophomore year of high school I began to wonder from the faith. I hung around older students who drank and smoked weed. During this time due to bullying as a child I experienced severe depression and anxiety. I stopped going to church and began to drink and use pot. I barely passed my courses and had only a 1.7 GPA.
My junior year of high school Kelly who was a senior invited me to the youth group. I went and got reconnected with Christian friends. After a power message on God’s grace and love I devoted my life to following Christ. I repented of partying and my other sins. I felt peace and true joy. My junior year I memorized over 2,000 Scriptures including the Sermon on the Mount, James, 1 John and Jude.
God blessed my life and track season. My 3,200 relay team made it to the Michigan state final and finished 12th. My grade point was 3.5 GPA and I had tons of new friends from both the track team and church youth group. My life was now on the right track.
Linda: Did you know right then that being a pastor was your calling in life?
Ron: My senior year of high school I felt the call to be a minister. I was reading a Christian book and I felt the Holy Spirit speak to my heart to attend Oral Roberts University to be an evangelist and minister. I went my freshman year of college to Michigan Christian College (now Rochester College) on scholarship for track and cross country. From MCC I went to Oral Roberts University with an academic scholarship.
My senior year of college I interned and mentored under internationally known TV evangelist Dr. Jack Van Impe. Dr. Jack Van Impe and I both have over 10,000 Scriptures memorized.
Linda: Your book “A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice” is well received. What was your inspiration to write it?
Ron: My inspiration for writing my book was my mom. The educational experts stressed to my mom the word “can’t.” What I can’t do. They told her, “Your son will never attended college, excel in athletics, or have meaningful relationships.” My mom’s faith in God and wisdom from raising two other children—proved the experts’ predictions wrong. I desire for my book to encourage parents and offer them hope that like me their child can experience a fulling life and gain independence.
Ron: I speak on many different topics such as developing your child’s self-esteem, autism refined, anti-bullying, inclusion in the church, and autism therapy. During my book tour I have already spoken at over 30 events in three and a half months. I speak at about 75 events a year. I have spoken in 14 countries.
Linda: You have accomplished so much and your passion is evident in all that you do. What advice would you give young adults with autism who are aging out of school and struggling with what to do in the next chapter of their life?
Ron: My advice is to never give up. “The only difference between a failure and a successful person is a successful person raises one more time then he or she falls.” Read every book at the library and every article online concerning relationships and social skills. Also use every resource offered to you. Go to college and get your bachelor degree in a field you can make a living like the medical field, mental health field, or compute science and your master degree in what you are passionate about.
Linda: Finish this sentence please: “Ron Sandison is……”
Ron: “Ron Sandison is a young adult with autism who never gave up and hopes to one day be the first U.S Congressman on the spectrum.”
I love that Ron! I have no doubt that you will be the first U.S. Congressman on the spectrum!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me today Ron, it has been a pleasure.
Thanks for stopping by….
You can learn more about Ron and purchase his book by clicking on the links below:
Barnes & Noble Link to my book:
Website Spectrum Inclusion: https://www.spectruminclusion.com
WXYZ Detroit Interview: http://www.wxyz.com/sports/autistic-man-uses-track-field-to-springboard-life-achievements
Harvest Morning Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77A_Njk9qW0