Student continues college despite struggles with Asperger's, finances

9:10 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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LITTLETON - When Jordan Vigil started high school, the idea of going to college was not even a possibility. He was struggling so much in school he wanted to drop out. The worst part, he didn't even know why.

"I would frequently have meltdowns where I wouldn't be able to do my work at all," Jordan Vigil said. "There were times when I had to be escorted out of the room."

His parents Toby and Heidi Vigil were worried because on the surface, it didn't appear there was anything wrong with Jordan. But, he certainly struggled in social situations with other students.

"We were trying to force him into the role like his younger brother, you know, of being social. Why don't you have friends?" Heidi Vigil said.

After years of not knowing, doctors finally diagnosed Jordan Vigil with Asperger's, an autism spectrum disorder that can cause people to have trouble with social interaction.

"For him to know that what was wrong with him had a name," Heidi Vigil said.

Jordan says it allowed him to address his issues and find ways to function in school.

"It made things a little easier knowing that you know there was a reason for this and I wasn't the only one," Jordan Vigil said.

He started to manage his anxiety better working with other kids. In fact, his father says Jordan started to excel in high school.

"When he was a senior, I mean, it clicked," Toby Vigil said.

The idea of college started to become a reality, but there was one major obstacle left in his way.

"I got rear-ended in a car accident, it did some severe damage to my neck," Toby Vigil said.

That was the last day he worked as a Greenwood Village Police Officer.

"A medical disability is not a lot of money," Heidi Vigil said.

College costs became a big concern for the Vigil family and a threat to Jordan's dream of going to college. That's when he found a scholarship program offered by the Pinnacol Foundation, a non-profit arm of Pinnacol Assurance which works on workers' compensation claims.

"Being able to provide a scholarship to someone like Jordan who has faced significant obstacles but yet is excelling is what we love to see," Ryan Grange, Pinnacol Foundation spokesperson, said.

So, today, Jordan Vigil is attending classes at Arapahoe Community College where his parents say staff members are very attentive to his needs.

"They gave him nothing but reasons to succeed," Toby Vigil said. "He's my here because he never gave up."

After graduating Arapahoe Community College, Jordan plans on going to Metro State University to possibly pursue a career in accounting.

"I need to see my education through and that I can make something of myself," Jordan Vigil said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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