College Student Overcomes Autism and Turner Syndrome

posted May 8, 2018, 7:14 AM by PHS Warrior Beat

By: Jordan Croswell

    Aiyana Hanes is by far the youngest college student in America to go to college.

    At the age of 16, Aiyana has accomplished so much. In kindergarten, she taught her classmates to read. If an adult was smoking she would educate them on the harmful effects cigarettes leave on your body. She also “accosted” an overweight woman in the store and told her she wouldn’t be so fat if she bought healthier food. 

    That’s what happens with children who have Asperger’s. Asperger syndrome is a form of high functioning autism that affects the ability to “effectively socialize and communicate.” But children with Asperger’s don’t usually enroll in college by 14, make honors by 15 and tutor their collegiate peers.

    "They know I'm younger but I don't always act younger," Aiyana said of her interactions with her peers at USC Sumter.

    "I know how to blend in but I know how to stand out."

    Aiyana Hanes is the youngest student at University of South Carolina Sumter out of 47,000 students statewide. Some students with Asperger's have many talents, said Mary Sturgill, a spokeswoman for South Carolina Autism Society.

    "Kids her age are usually still in high school," Sturgill said. "So she's quite a young lady." Aiyana’s teacher has described her as smart but she’s sometimes not in control. If surrounded by loud noises she would panic.

    "Fourth of July used to be a nightmare," her mother, Stephanie, said.

    But with a healthy lifestyle, and the family’s “blunt willingness” to confront the things that stress her out, Aiyana has learned how to not only live with her autism but to excel of spite of it.

    "You should have seen (her) five years ago," her mother said. "You would have seen a different Aiyana."


Uploaded By: 5/8/18

Edited By: DM