When Haley Moss was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, her parents were told she’d be lucky if she ever got a driver’s license or even made a friend.
Last month, Moss, 24, became the first known person who is open about her autism to be admitted to the Florida Bar, KTLA sister station WJW in Cleveland reported.
The achievement came after Moss gave the commencement speech at the University of Miami School of Law, and after earning two degrees from the University of Florida. She’s also published two books, according to the Daily Business Review.
“I’ve been working tirelessly to help change the conversation about autism,” Moss told WINK News in Fort Myers, Florida. “I’m one of the first that we know of that’s open about it.”
Moss told the station she doesn’t set boundaries for herself and her biggest piece of advice is “to not set limits.”
“Being different isn’t less. It isn’t bad. It’s just different,” she said. “And different can be extraordinary. There are plenty of things that are difficult for me, but I want you to see what I’m good at.”
Moss currently practices health and international law at Zumpano Patricios, a law firm in Miami.
One of the firm’s founders, Joseph Zumpano, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the firm gave Moss a job even before she passed the bar exam.
“As a core value, we wanted to be the first firm to bring in an openly autistic lawyer and make the point that if you align people to their strengths then given the chance, they excel,” Zumpano told the newspaper. “To our knowledge, Haley is the first lawyer that we know of in a substantial law firm in the state of Florida that is openly autistic. There may be others but we haven’t found them.”
Moss wants people to know that those with autism can still succeed and reach their biggest goals.
“The biggest misconception is to not see us not just for disabilities,” Moss told WINK. “To see us for what we can do rather for what we can’t and, to see us for our strength rather than our weaknesses.”