Former Michigan State University basketball player Anthony Ianni traveled to the Union High School in Dowagiac on March 19 to talk to the students about his struggle with autism while being a college student and star athlete for his university. He was diagnosed at age four with autism and had to cope with a variety of difficulties while growing up such as name calling, harassment, and bullying. Despite all the trouble he had with his peers, he did tell the students at Union High that he had a great support team made up of family, friends, and coaches who helped him along with his success in sports and academics.
Ianni was the first person with autism to make it on a NCAA basketball team and also graduate from MSU, which has made him a huge inspiration to the local community and to people with autism all around the country. The 26 year old comes from two parents who were also both collegiate athletes, and he was born with that same inspiration to follow in their footsteps at MSU. He graduated with his degree in 2012 and now travels all over the country speaking to students as a motivational speaker. In October of 2013, Ianni combined forces with the Department of Civil Rights in Michigan to work on the “Relentless Tour”, which has led him to many other speaking engagements around the United States to deliver his words of encouragement to young adults who are in similar situations that he was in at their age.
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Watch Anthony Ianni Speaking about his Disability: