Tyler Haynes

Smiling through adversity one win at a time

Tyler Haynes' Autism Speaks Champion of Change headshot

Diagnosed with autism at age two, Tyler is no stranger to smiling in the face of adversity and proving doubters wrong. The 23-year-old says his biggest challenge with autism has been learning how to clearly communicate with others and understanding the various social situations that can arise in everyday life. But with a strong support system around him, including his mom, Tonya, Tyler is doing more than just succeeding, he’s thriving!

As a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) SUCCEED Program, Tyler’s outgoing personality and social nature allowed him to make the most of his college experience, living independently in the dorms, making friends and signing up for a wide range of social clubs. Tyler proved that facing his struggles with socialization and picking up social cues head on would be the key to making the most of his time at school.

Today, Tyler works as a guest services attendant at the UMSL Recreation and Wellness Center, enjoys continued membership in Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and is active in community programming. Tyler hopes to secure expanded employment in the area of sports management/recreation services that best suit his interests, skills and admirable personality!

When he’s not working, Tyler can be found in the gym playing basketball or hanging out with friends at the bowling alley or the movie theater. Together, Tyler and his mom, Tonya, exemplify the power of collaboration and resilience in navigating the complexities of autism.

As Champions of Change, the mother and son duo seek to dismantle barriers associated with autistic individuals and to amplify the voices of those with autism, emphasizing their inherent abilities and potential to thrive.