Dreaming big: 17-year-old with autism is graduating from USC Sumter today with focus on genetics

Aiyana Hayes, a 17-year-old with Turner's Syndrome and autism, will graduate from USC Sumter on May 8.

MICAH GREEN / THE SUMTER ITEM

Don't you ever tell this 17-year-old she won't achieve her goals because she has autism or because she has Turner's Syndrome or because she's (really) short because she will prove you wrong in about three minutes.

Aiyana Hayes, quickly described by her mother as short and very sassy, emphasis on very, is set to graduate from USC Sumter today after studying genetics and biology. Those fields are no coincidence, as seems nothing in the curly-haired girl's life.

Everyone has 46 chromosomes. Most everyone, that is. The first 11 are 22 pairs, then there's the sex chromosomes, and most people have an x and a y, as Hayes explained by hardwired memory. Sometimes, you only have an x and that's it.

Turner's Syndrome is a chromosomal condition affecting girls and women who are missing part or all of their second sex chromosome. The most common features are short stature and lack of ovarian development, but, like with any disorder, there are varying degrees.

Read more BY KAYLA ROBINS at www.theitem.com