(Meredith) - Haley Moss, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, is the first openly autistic person to be admitted to the Florida Bar.
At an early age, doctors thought Moss would never work a minimum wage job or live independently, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The 24-year-old now lives on her own and works at a top law firm in Miami.
Before she graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, Moss had already authored two books -- including one that was published when she was just 15.
“I’m very passionate about things I enjoy, and I love to write,” Moss told the Sun-Sentinel. “That’s also part of why I went to law school, and I love to be able to help others. So even with writing, I love that I’m able to express myself completely and what I can say has the ability to help someone else.”
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh said it was “a great privilege” to administer the oath to Moss at her swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 11, according to Law.com. She described Moss as someone who "has actually had to overcome issues and develop skills that may not be natural."
Moss' current employer, the Zumpano Patricios law firm, recognized her talent before she even passed the bar exam.
“When I was introduced to Haley by a former lawyer at our firm, I immediately picked up on the fact that she was obviously brilliant — brilliant and a good person,” Joseph Zumpano, the co-founder of the firm, told the Sun-Sentinel.
“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,” he continued.
On Saturday, the autism charity Unicorn Children's Foundation declared Moss a Youth Ambassador in recognition of her achievements.
Moss, who has a high-functioning form of autism, told the Palm Beach Post her main goal is to help children facing similar challenges and to change the negative stigma often associated with autism.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” Moss said. “Well, it takes an even bigger village to raise a special needs child. I realized I could be an integral part of a child’s village.”
. @haleymossart will be inducted as a Youth Ambassador tomorrow at our Motown Ball! We'll be raising money to ensure more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have an opportunity to achieve their dreams and find meaning & purpose! https://t.co/Ppgnaqjfdp— Unicorn Children's Foundation (@ucfoundation) February 16, 2019