SOUTH JORDAN, UT (KSTU/CNN) – An autistic Eagle Scout has earned every merit badge possible, proving that his accomplishments define him and not his disability.
Nathan Christensen of South Jordan, UT, is a senior at Bingham High. He plays in the marching band, has his own car, went to the prom, just happens to be autistic and has earned 132 merit badges as an Eagle Scout.
"I've earned every merit badge," Nathan said.
Nathan's mother says scouting was key to helping Nathan, who did not speak until he was 7 years old.
"This is the perfect way to teach him a little bit about a lot of things, and it makes it so he can have better conversations, so he can talk to people," said Christensen's mother, Sandy Christensen.
"They're just all the hard work I did to earn them all," Nathan said.
Nathan keeps binders for each badge to remind him of all his past work and inspire his future.
"For the reading badge I had to read different kinds of books and then I had to take notes on these," Nathan said. "I was thinking about writing stories and trying to get them published, talking about Scouts."
"Autistic kids can do anything, they just have to try harder," Sandy Christensen said. "They have to work harder, they have to put in more effort, but they can learn all the same things.
Merit badges can be counted, but the benefits of reaching a goal cannot.
"Stop slacking and get on with it," Nathan said.
Copyright 2011 KSTU via CNN. All rights reserved.