Who is Xavier DeGroat?
My Early Life
I was born on October 17, 1990, in Colorado Springs, CO. Since my father was in the U.S. Army, my family and I moved a lot through my early life. From Colorado to Alabama to Michigan to Kentucky and then back to Michigan. These experiences have exposed me to a wide variety of schools, cultures, and people. I believe this is instrumental to my desire to help those in different circumstances with autism.
Throughout elementary school, I faced many obstacles and was misunderstood by my peers and teachers. I was bullied by my classmates because they knew that I was different from others. I was also disciplined many times by school administrators for miscommunications. This was a period of time with a lot of change in the perception of what autism is and what those who are diagnosed are capable of.
I grew up in an average household in terms of socioeconomic status, and that led me to understand the financial stress that is added to households with special needs. This is part of the path that made me dedicated to helping those families with autism to alleviate this added financial stress.
A Budding Advocate
In 2009, I began my journey as an advocate, by taking trips around the City of Lansing and Michigan to share my story with local leaders. I was focused on educating these individuals and helping them see the perspective of someone on the spectrum and bring social change to their organizations. Some of the first leaders that met with me include labor union officials, politicians, and business executives.
This started a snowball effect with other officials and their networks, to reach out to me to learn more about my story. One of such individuals was Virg Bernero, the then-Mayor of Lansing. In this way, I met many of my future Board members. From here, in 2014, I began my travels across the nation to meet other leaders in all parts of the country. My first national advocacy trip was to Washington, D.C. in which I met with political leaders and shared with them my story, such as Congressman and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis.
This led to me gaining the confidence to be more outspoken about the injustices that I saw in the world for those with autism. I continued to travel, meet with influential people, and participate in community events, all while developing my overall mission to fight for autism rights.
Current Day Projects
Currently, I am working on furthering my individual and organizational goals. By reaching out to individuals and families with autism, I am showing support for my community and those around the world affected by the injustices against those on the spectrum.
I am focused on expanding my network of supporters and educating as many people as possible about the struggles associated with autism. By analyzing data and current events, I am able to further focus my efforts to help solve and prevent challenges that those with autism are enduring. I take pride in my ability to educate those with authority such as police, teachers, politicians, and managers. It is important for everyone to know how to interact with those on the spectrum, which is a key to overcoming many of the obstacles that those with autism face.
I am continuing to build my team to help counsel, rehabilitate, and provide financial guidance to local individuals with autism.
Xavier DeGroat, Founder and CEO