“Bullying can affect everybody today, including people with Autism. A stat most people don’t know is that 65-90% of kids with Autism are the prime target for bullies. I myself was one of those victims when I was younger and it continued until I was a freshman in high school. After I heard this stat I knew I had to take action!”
Anthony Ianni, of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, is one of the most sought after anti-bullying motivational speakers in the region.
At the age of 4 Anthony was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Doctors and specialists told Anthony’s parents that he would barely graduate from high school, would never graduate from college, would never have a shot at being an athlete and would likely live in a group institution with other Autistic kids for his adult life. His family was devastated but pledged they would help Anthony be successful no matter what.
And he is. Despite bullies, adversity and numerous personal challenges Anthony worked hard and never gave up. Not only did he earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Sociology he is the first known athlete with autism to play Big 10 basketball. Anthony played for legendary coach Tom Izzo while at MSU. He won two Big Ten Championships, a Big Ten Tournament Title, was the recipient of the 2011 Tim Bograkos Walk On Award and the 2012 Unsung Player Award, and was also a member of the 2010 Final Four team.
Anthony has pledged his life and career to help those who face similar challenges. He has been invited to tell his story and share his message across the country and has inspired countless individuals to “LYD”- Live Your Dreams.