Home > Autism Speaks U > This One’s For You

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…

Kerry at graduation wearing the Autism Speaks pin, along with the 15 honor chords he collected at college.

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!*

This is one of my Autism Speaks U related blog posts. If you would like to contact me directly about questions/comments related to this post I can be reached at kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org.

  1. May 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm | #1

    Hello Kerry,

    I enjoyed your blog. I am a professional working at UC Davis Extension, California, representing our Education programs and our largest audience right now are those special educators and professionals working with students on the Spectrum. I am completely new to this world and have been learning a lot in the few months I have been here. One area in particular stands out–the lack of support and services for folks moving beyond the K-12 world.

    In conjunction with the UC Davis MIND Institute, we are looking to grow our programs to encompass the autistic adult. We are launching our first course: “Supporting Transitions for Youth” (Ages 16-25)in June and I am looking at how or if we can expand our program. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your blog as I realize you have come a long way in your journey and you are an inspiration! Congratulations on your accomplishment and good luck on your next educational adventure!

  2. Christy T. Kuhn
    May 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm | #2

    I am going to print this blog and read it to my seven-year-old son, who has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, as well as his sister, who has learned true acceptance through her love for her brother. You are absolutely a blessing and inspiration. Thank you for the tears in my eyes, the smile on my face, and the hope in my heart for my own child that reading your words have given me.

    God bless you!

  3. Adrianne
    May 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm | #3

    WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :)

  4. Mom of Philip, 9
    May 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm | #4

    This one’s for YOU!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!! You are such an inspiration I will continue to advocate for my son and your story will be with me all the way…………keep believing in yourself as you do………I believe someday my son will be writing a similar story of success and inspiring others as you do!! Thank you!

  5. Maria
    May 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm | #5

    Congratulations on graduation and on all you have achieved over the years. What a wonderful post you have written. It is a beacon of hope for all us who love someone with autism.

  6. Lynzee
    May 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm | #6

    This is exactly what I needed today! I have twin boys who are 5 and they are both on the spectrum! I have vowed from day one to do whatever it takes to get them where they need to be! You are an inspiration and will be in my thoughts during every set back that may come along in our journey! Thank you for paving the way for my boys and many others!

  7. Lori Andrews
    May 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm | #7

    You area true hero!! I wish you nothing but happiness and joy for the future!!

  8. Mickey
    May 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm | #8

    Congrats Kerry!! As a mother with a child on the spectrum I’m always fighting for a better education for my son. I know that he can achieve his dreams through working hard and finishing school. Your an inspiration to me and my son. God bless you on your journey. Mickey

  9. Susan
    May 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm | #9

    Kerry I cannot wait to have my son read this. He wants to be a meteorologist and has encountered all the same speculation about his future that you have. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing and God Bless you on your journey into the masters program. Congratulations!!

  10. M&M’s Mom
    May 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | #10

    Kudos to you Kerry! Such an inspirational posting. I am going to save this and read to my daughter when she gets a little older.

  11. Reinventing Mommy
    May 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | #11

    Congratulations! You are an inspiration to me. I have a 2-year old son with PDD-NOS, and it is wonderful people like yourself that convince me that my son has endless potential. Best of luck to you as you move on to grad school!

  12. missy
    May 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm | #12

    Thank you for sharing your amazing story. You have given me and so many other parents of children on the spectrum hope that so many others have tried to take away from us! I tell my son 5 year old Johnny daily that he is amazing just the way he is. I have printed your story and will share it with him through out the ups and downs of his life and one day will be posting his succsess story just like you…THANK YOU!

  13. Corrie
    May 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm | #13

    I send you my tightest hug! My lttle girl is 7…was diagnosed at 2, people said she was never goi g to live a “normal” life. She’s smarter than me. I have no doubt she will be getting a degree younger than I did!

  14. May 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | #14

    Way to go Kerry. So very proud of you.

  15. Bronwen
    May 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm | #15

    Thank you so much for posting this! We live in South Africa where there is virtually no state assistance for ASD children or their parents. Last year our autistic son lost his placement at a special needs school because they did not believe he had the potential to learn. They told us to forget about trying to educate him. We were devastated by the way they gave up on him and failed to see his potential. We continued to school him at home and he has vindicated our determination to give him a chance. Reading your post tonight has given me renewed inspiration to persevere despite the nay-sayers, to keep believing in my boy who may one day also say ‘this one’s for you’

  16. Lizaida
    May 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm | #16

    Felicidades!!! Éxito en todo lo que te propongas eres un héroe! tengo mi hijo diagnosticado PDD-NOS se que tiene el potencial también para salir adelante, eres un lider y un ejemplo a seguir. Dios te Bendiga

  17. May 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm | #17

    Kerry: CONGRATULATIONS!! I admire you soooo much.
    xoxoLaura

  18. ileana
    May 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm | #18

    Congratulations!!!!

  19. Susan
    May 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm | #19

    Thanks for the wonderful and inspiring story!

    Mother’s of children on the spectrum need to hear from wonderful people like you. We never stop believing in our children’s success.

    Blessing to you! May your life be rich in happiness!

  20. Mrs. R.Kosturski
    May 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm | #20

    CONGRATULATIONS TERRY! GOD BLESS YOU! You have no idea…well I guess you DO…this excellent article touched me deeply as I have a almost 3 year old grand daughter on this spectrum. She began Early Intervention when she was 2 and is doing quite well. YOUR article, YOUR achievements, YOUR positive attitude and YOUR inspiration has given this grandmother much hope for my little grand daughter’s future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. May you continue to have success in whatever you do as I KNOW you will. THIS article made my day. I have printed it out and will read it often. YOU ARE AMAZING!

  21. Jen Kerner
    May 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm | #21

    Keep proving the wrong ones wrong, and keep proving the right ones right. :) Congratulations Kerry, and I look forward to hearing about the amazing difference you’re going to continue making.

  22. May 20, 2011 at 1:46 am | #22

    I love your post and congrats on your graduation. I am the mom of a 4 1/2 year old boy and we have also begun the journey of proving so many wrong in regards to just how far someone affected by autism can go.
    Your post brought a huge smile to my face and a warm feeling throughout my heart and it was the perfect day for it because as I am sure you well understand today was one of those days that was a little more difficult for my little guy.
    Please know that while I may not know you personally, I am overwhelmed with pride for your accomplishments.
    Continue to believe in yourself and never stop showing them what you’re made of.
    Autism defined, strength, character, and undying determination!!!!
    Bo’s mamma

  23. Sarah
    May 21, 2011 at 3:56 am | #23

    Congratulations Kerry!

  24. Orfa
    May 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm | #24

    Kerry,

    You give us all so much hope. I am so proud of your achievements…way to go! I remind myself EVERYDAY that I am not here to put limits to what my son can achieve but to make sure I expose him to every kind of situation possible because the sky is the limit and only he can find out how far he can go. I am so moved by your blog entry. God bless you for being an inspiration…

    Orfa, mother of Frankie PDD-NOS, 5 years-old.

  25. May 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm | #25

    God Bless You..against all odds you have and will accomplish all you really want and need to!

    My stepson is autistic, his Mom had left and my daughter and I as neighbors and friends of his family had looked after him after she left……..we became closed later and we both disagreed with the “babysitting” institution he was being sent to, being surrounded with younger children who were not geared in his direction. We help[ed him learn things HE wanted and tried to bring some reality into his life, not let the autism run his world, and keep him down..he is in college now and his Mom took him back when she realized I was encouraging him, along with his father ..she called it child abuse and he does not speak to me but he is following the path we began years ago. Bob is strong and fights anyone standing in his way. His Dad, my husband now, will forward your story down to him in North Carolina and he will be proud to know of you, I pray he will contact you as you and him share so much…….thank you, thank you………..

  26. gollyanne lynch
    May 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm | #26

    Dear Kerry: how fine that the next “dare” you’re gonna Master is the Art of STRATEGIC Communication and Leadership. Even typing it makes me giggle! Oh, the irony! so proud of you! Jesus’n’val As we say in Texas, Hook ‘Em Horns, Kerry! Go get ‘em! (But REST for at least a weekend, like maybe this up-coming long one for Memorial Day, since you’ve come thru quite a war already!) this applause is FOR YOU!

  27. Jimmy
    September 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm | #27

    I have a daughter that is 13 yrs old. She was diagnosed with PDD-NOS about 4 months ago. When she was 3 yrs old she was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed but shortly after that her mother and I divorced and no follow-up test were done. She has been in an IEP program since she has been in school, and she is currently in the 6th grade. She has monthly visits to a child psychologist, but that seems to be the only treatment she is getting other than the way we handle things at home. I guess my question is “am I too late” is 13 yrs old too old for her to get better and be able to graduate high school…. I mean she knows her school work she’s just alot slower than everyone else when it comes down to getting her work done…and by the way i think you done a great job and I’m sure you are and will be an inspiration to alot of kids growing up with one of these spectrums….thanks.

  1. June 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm | #1

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