Doctors Predict Girl Will Never Hold A Job – Proves Them Wrong By Becoming State’s First Autistic Lawyer
Haley Moss has a motto that describes her entire outlook and approach to life. She shared that motto on her website. It states, “Different isn’t bad. It’s just different. And different can be extraordinary.”
There’s a story behind those simple yet powerful words
As an infant Haley cried continuously and she didn’t speak until age three. In preschool Haley could arrange complex jigsaw puzzles but lacked the social skills to interact with her classmates.
When Haley was diagnosed with autism, specialists warned her parents that she “would be lucky if she has one friend, graduates from high school, and receives a driver’s license.” Her parents were told not to expect too much from her.
Haley and her family, however, refused to give up when it came to seeing how far she would be able to go in life. Against all odds, Haley went far beyond the doctor’s pessimistic predictions. Haley has a difficult time with certain everyday tasks, such as doing laundry. But the key to her success is that she doesn’t give up when things are tough.
Haley was enrolled in early intervention programs, including speech and occupational therapy. By 4, she began speaking and joined mainstream classes.
Since then, Haley has turned autism into her strength.
“I was always interested in making a difference and wanted to make a difference in the disability community,” she said.
Haley experienced difficulty in social interaction but she excelled at art.
Haley had always enjoyed creating artwork but began to receive recognition for it when she was thirteen.
Haley paints anime-style characters with acrylic on canvas. Her artwork has been compared to world renowned Brazilian Neo-pop artist, Romero Britto. Haley has been featured in galleries throughout South Florida. Some of her original paintings sold for thousands at auction to benefit the University of Miami/Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
Haley shares about her experience in school, “I never really thought I was “different” or a “weird kid.” I thought I was cool and everyone else was different. I always had really high self-esteem thanks to my parents. I always believed I was the cool kid and everyone else was the weird kid at school, so quite the opposite experience of many of my autistic peers. I guess I knew sometimes my interests didn’t align with girls my age—I got along better with the boys. And I really loved art and had an extraordinary memory.”
After graduating from the University of Miami with a law degree, she passed the Florida bar and works as an associate at Zumpano Patricios.
She is the first openly autistic lawyer working in the state, according to her law firm. This past weekend she won the Occhigrossi Family Youth in Service Award from Unicorn Children’s Foundation for her work as an advocate for neurodiversity.
Moss is excited to be following her dreams and exceeding expectations.
She hopes that her achievement will pave the way for people to gain a greater understanding of the differences in the way people with autism think.