Brandon Woolridge

“This is like somebody telling you that you’ve won the lottery!” said Linda Woolridge, when she learned that her son, Brandon, was a 2010 Eric Fund grant award winner.

“This is really going to make a difference!”

James-Cyrus “Brandon” Woolridge is a 16-year-old high school junior from Silver Spring, Md. with high-functioning autism and dysgraphia, which prevents him from being able to write by putting pen to paper. 

But being diagnosed with his condition at age seven did not dampen the passion Brandon has for writing. Described by his mom as “an up-and-coming author of the future,” Brandon, a fan of science fiction and fantasy, loves to use his endless imagination to write his own stories.  But to do so is a physical challenge for Brandon – and his mom. Whether he wishes to write a story or do his homework, Brandon dictates his work to his mother who transcribes it for him. Linda says it is not uncommon for both of them to stay up until midnight each weekday to complete Brandon’s nightly homework,  even though they start right when he gets home from school.

The Eric Fund has granted Brandon his own laptop and software, including a voice recognition program that will allow Brandon to “speak” his homework and stories with the computer transcribing them for him. Brandon has had great success using the software at school, however, since the equipment belongs to the school system, Brandon cannot take it home and he cannot use it once he graduates. Linda is thankful not only for the immediate difference The Eric Fund grant will make to help Brandon pursue his writing and complete his schoolwork, but also for prospects it holds for his future as he pursues a career as a journalist and author. “[The Eric Fund grant] is going to make him more independent and be able to rely on himself more at home and at school. Then it will make college an easy transition.”

2009Nate Nashawardee