This One’s For You
This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University. He started the club Student Disability Awareness on campus to help spread awareness and raise funds for those affected by autism. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.
Yesterday was my graduation from Seton Hall University. As this has been one of the most emotional and happiest days of my life I have taken some time to reflect on my journey and get my thoughts down on paper. Many people told me that my road towards a good education was going to be rough. The word “impossible” was a word that I learned very early on in regards to people’s opinions about whether or not I could get to college let alone graduate from college. Now I just have to say…
To the physician who told me when I was 6 that I would be lucky to get to high school, this one’s for you.
For the Special Education teachers who would look down at me like I was broken, this one’s for you.
For the years of being taunted and bullied by kids, saying I can’t and wouldn’t achieve greatness, this one’s for you.
For the people who helped me through physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy till I was 14, this one’s for you.
For my parents, friends and relatives, who see me as an individual first who is/was never broken, this one’s for you.
For those teachers who said I could do it, this one’s for you.
For the countless other individuals out there who are autistic or love someone who is autistic, this one’s for you.
For the people who say you can’t do something even though you can this one’s for you.
For the people at Autism Speaks who have given me the chance to express my “voice” and help others through the Autism Speaks Blog for over a year now, this one’s for you.
At the end of the day our influences in our lives send us on our path, either good or bad. When I was 4 I was diagnosed on the spectrum. Now 18 years later I’m a college graduate who will be going to graduate school for a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership. For all those people, again, the good and the bad, thank you. You’ve made me who I am today and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
…This one’s for you.
*On a side note, I wanted to add that I will be starting a scholarship program for individuals on the spectrum who are pursuing a post secondary program later this year. As a student, I know there is a lack of scholarship funding in this area and know even the smallest amount helps. Thanks for reading and remember to keep pushing everyday! We can all make a difference!*