Asperger's doesn't keep new Eagle from soaring


Kevin Glidden, a 17-year-old West Brook High School senior and one of Southeast Texas’ newest Eagle Scouts, is preparing for a career after graduation as any high school student should. But for Glidden, that also means overcoming the challenge of Asperger syndrome.

Glidden’s mother, Karen, said her son’s scouting career hasn’t been without its challenges.

“He’s had to step out of his comfort zone quite a bit,” Karen said. “But we’ve always looked at it as not a disability. It’s just a different way to have to do things. He’s learned that and tries his best at everything he does.”

It seems Glidden’s parents have done well, raising a son who just finished a custom bench as his Eagle project at the West End Baptist Church in Beaumont.

To construct the bench, Glidden said he went on a selling spree, raising at least $1,000 in chocolate sales and donations from A+ Cardinal Property Service in Beaumont.

Once he had the bench and concrete, the project took a few days to complete.

Karen said her son has come a long way over the years. On long scouting trips with kids who aren’t always educated about Glidden’s condition, Karen said her family has taught Glidden to manage his condition.

“He’ll have a listening device. He can listen to books and music on tapes and things like that, to kind of tune himself out of the group,” Karen said. “The other boys kind of know to leave him alone if he gets frustrated or aggravated. We’ve taught him to take himself out of the situation into another area where he can be alone a while and regroup.”

After years of support and love, Karen said it was a chance discovery to find that Kevin is a highly talented artist.

“We found out a couple of years ago that he can draw really well, which is something we never knew,” Karen said. “He does a really good job, so we’re thinking that’s a good way for him to go because it’s a job where you can be given an assignment and then do the assignment. You don’t have to have a lot of interaction with people, so we think that’s a great idea.”

Ask Kevin what he wants to do after high school and the answer is emphatic and immediate.

“I’m going to Taylor Career Center to study welding and drafting,” Glidden said.

Glidden said he hopes the bench will be there for years to come and said the best part about the project was dedicating the finished bench to his “pawpaw,” his mother’s father.

“I made my pawpaw proud by becoming an Eagle Scout,” Glidden said.