Why I Wear the Number Three

Matt Forte, Author

This past April the Manhasset community participated in the annual National Autism Awareness Month, and the school sold T-shirts in order to help raise money for Autism research foundations. The following is a brief autobiography written by Manhasset’s own Matt Forte.

 

My name is Matt Forte, and I’m nineteen years old. I grew up in a town called East Northport, and when I was three years old I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.

From elementary school onward, I had a lot of difficulty with school work, but the real problem was fitting in and being like everyone else. I cried on the first day of school, and when I first started middle school I cried almost every day.

I never liked transition. I always thought that having autism means you’re nobody and you’ll never have any friends or a job where people would want you or a sports team that would pick you up. I never had any friends growing up, and I always had thoughts about hurting myself. I also called myself names and put myself down. It has always been my dream to be someone that could make a difference in people’s lives and be a good team leader on and off the soccer field.

Last year I was a graduating senior at Northport High School, but at the end of the year I ended up being sent to the hospital because I had developed an illness in my brain from birth that could not be cured. I stayed there for more than a month, which caused me to miss the graduation ceremony and prom. When I was released from the hospital I was sent to a crisis home in Melville. I had been told at the hospital that I was not going back home with my parents. I thought while being there that I was finished with life altogether, and during the last four months of living there I lost a ton of weight. All I would eat was McDonald’s and other kinds of fast food.

In November of 2014 I was told that I was going to be living at The Terrace. I felt so happy to get the opportunity to come to Manhasset and prove to everyone at the school that I belong and that I’m no different from anyone else. I feel I have proved that I do belong and that I am wanted by everyone around me.

When I grew up playing soccer I was a goalie for nine seasons at the Youth Center in Northport and for two seasons in LIJSL at Plainview Soccer League. I wear #3 due to my being diagnosed with autism at three years of age. I chose to wear it to be true to myself and also to inspire others that no matter who you are or whatever you might be dealing with, always remember to never give up and continue to follow your dreams to the very best of your own ability.