This Autistic Man Graduated With His Bachelor's Degree After 12 Years Of Trying

Photo Courtesy Of Yahoo Lifestyle

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree can be challenging for just about anyone but imagine being someone on the spectrum having to endure the trials tribulations of a college while also having to self-regulate.

Brian Schnelle is the autistic man we’re talking about and he finally graduated after 12 years of hard work and dedication. Schnelle attended Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee and the 31-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his favorite part about graduation was getting his degree — being able to walk across the stage and grab his diploma.

Due to him being on the spectrum, getting his bachelor’s degree became that much harder but Schnelle refused to give up. Another added degree — no pun intended — of difficulty was the fact that Schnelle is unable to drive on his own and needed to be driven to his classes by his father.

Schnelle, who is adopted after being fostered by the Schnelle’s as a child, and after some time with the family — and seeing signs of developmental issues — a psychiatrist confirmed their suspicions and the seven-year-old was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At the time, the Schnelles weren’t too familiar with the condition but did everything in their power to learn about ASD and give their new son a fighting chance.

After a lot of searching, they finally found an educational program named Genesis Academy — for children with learning and behavioral issues. They weren’t planning on college for Brian but before they knew it, he was a senior in high school who was interested in learning about his university options.


Brian has always loved sports and was a huge fan growing up. He always had big dreams of one day becoming an equipment manager for a big sports team. Naturally, he decided to study sports management. When he enrolled, he was allowed to take the classes pertaining to sports management first, before going into the very tedious math, language, and other prerequisite classes.

Brian himself admits that he probably wouldn’t have gotten his degree if he had to go the conventional route but luckily his school administrators made an exception and let him take the classes he was interested in, first before going into general education. Brian took two classes a semester for 12 years and a lot of the time, his dad was allowed to sit in the back of his son’s class and help him take notes.

Brian would then go through his notes and his father’s note and do all of his homework as soon as he got home without wasting a moment. He tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he would never cram when it came to studying, he had a schedule and made sure to go all of his studying on time.

Luckily, his professors would allow him extra time to work on certain papers and he’d be allowed to go to quiet places in order to take his tests. It was a long road but Brian was able to make it through to the end of it with the help of his parents, faculty members, and his own perseverance.

His goal is to inspire other people on the spectrum to reach for their goals and never give up on their dreams.

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