By Jordan Beach
Michael Haigwood Goodroe received a diagnosis at a young age that proved to create more challenges than most experience. Through perseverance, he turned his story into one of inspirational success.

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At the March Community Gathering, Goodroe ’16 will present “What Autism Gave Me,” the story of how he refused to allow a diagnosis of autism and severe learning problems hold him back from educational and life opportunities. The Community Gathering will take place on Wednesday, March 11 at 4 p.m. in the Hill Freeman Library Community Room.

Goodroe earned a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of West Georgia and graduated from Reinhardt University with a Master of Business Administration. In addition to working full time as a data processor, Goodroe holds a second-degree black belt, sings at fundraising events and serves as a motivational speaker.

On his road to becoming a successful individual, Goodroe faced difficulties relating to autism and his diagnosed low IQ and severe learning disabilities, including failures, negative results, rejections from schools and an inability to complete simple karate moves or participate in activities like others his age. Goodroe used the support around him to strive for even the smallest improvements, eventually leading to significant achievements – such as college degrees – and the ability to publish a book that details the obstacles he overcame which now serves as inspiration to others.

The Community Gathering is free and open to the public.