Southfield teen with autism prepares to begin journey at Michigan State University

Owen White, a 17-year-old who has autism, said he has overcome numerous challenges, and he is ready to take on a new one this fall -- college.

The Southfield teen is heading to Michigan State University to study journalism.

"I prefer overcoming autism because I have overcame a lot of challenges that’s associated with having autism. I know autism will always be a part of my life, but I’ve overcome some of the challenges and changing how people see autism," White said.

White was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old.

A 2014 study found that only about 15% of students with autism enroll in a four-year university.

His parents Lakeya Martin and Chris White say they never really planned for him to go to a major university, but he zeroed in on Michigan State after seeing prep hoops star Emoni Bates committed there over the summer. 

So, White, who has a 3.8 GPA, toured the campus and decided to apply. He found out around Easter that he was accepted.

White got his start in journalism two years ago when he launched his own sports talk channel on YouTube.

"I will be the first sports broadcaster who is overcoming autism," he said.

White's parents said support from Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology and Easterseals of Michigan played a role in their son's journey. They said parents of children with autism should instill self-esteem in their children and always be ready to advocate for them.

"He never limited himself. He looked at things and saw other people doing it and thought like, 'Hey look, I can do it, too,'" Lakeya Martin said.