Xavier DeGroat from Michigan, US, has made history as the first person with autism to take part in an internship with the White House.
During his internship, Xavier had the chance to check out Marine One, have lunch with many staff members including his friend Andrew Giuliani (son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani) and even introduced Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to the crowd of interns on stage in the White House South Court Auditorium.
Xavier, who is CEO of the Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation which creates and promotes opportunities for people with autism, also spent time with US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary Betsy DeVos, and many other leaders who are all said to have found Xavier an inspiration.
Driving positive change for people with autism
Xavier also put together a draft of ideas for new legislation in Congress to help improve Homeland Security and FBI relations with those on the autism spectrum. His ideas included better provision of special services for people with autism at airports under Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and throughout all federal sites.
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Xavier’s ideas initially sparked conversation with President Trump last year when Mayor Giuliani took Xavier into the Oval Office for a meeting with the 45th President. State Senators Roger Victory and Tom Barrett sponsored Xavier’s state legislation and it recently got signed into law. Xavier says the legislation is in Bipartisan support by Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess, and many other legislators.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, told Autism Parenting Magazine: “Xavier DeGroat’s work to spread awareness for people with autism in communities across the country is an inspiration for all Americans thirsty for good news. Our nation is better because of people like Xavier using compassion to help their neighbors in need.”
About Xavier DeGroat
Xavier was diagnosed with autism at age four and has experienced discrimination, economic and job setbacks, and educational difficulties throughout his life. He decided to dedicate his life to helping others and is working to create a society that better understands autism and enables those with autism to be successful.
Photographer: Hoffman Photography