Cheyenne Howell was a healthy, normal baby until she got her 6 months vaccination. Her leg swelled up like a balloon, was hot to the touch at the injection site, and she ran a 104 degree fever. Her pediatrician said in close to 5000 patients he had never seen a reaction like that. After this event, Cheyenne failed to reach her normal developmental milestones. She was diagnosed with Autism at age 2. She was nonverbal until 5 years old, and suffered from many sensory issues. Life was rough for her since 22 years ago, autism was not widely recognized or understood. Doctors said she would never live on her own and she should be put in a “home for special needs people”.

Public school was not challenging grade wise, but it was tough socially. Cheyenne was the victim of bullies many times over. Few people understood her, so her comfort was art and drawing. Cheyenne was pulled out of public school in 10th grade due to two severe attacks by bullies.

But that is when Cheyenne really blossomed! She attended homeschool, online high school, and took dual credit college courses. She graduated high school and attended Lone Star College, where she received her Associates Degree.

Cheyenne currently attends Sam Houston State University majoring in Psychology. She has a 3.5 GPA and will be graduating in December 2017. She lives by herself in an apartment off campus, driving herself to classes, shopping, and cooking her own meals.

Her plans are to go on to graduate school and get her doctorate degree in Psychology. Ironically, she is applying to the same college whose psychology department diagnosed her with autism over 20 years ago. Cheyenne is an amazing woman with a can-do spirit who loves people and has overcome more adversity in the first 22 years of her life than most of us will face in a lifetime!