Home > Autism Speaks U > 10 Things I Have Learned About Autism

10 Things I Have Learned About Autism

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.

Quite recently I took the liberty of making a list of some of the things I have learned about autism through reflection. I then narrowed it down to 10 of my quotes that I feel best express  my understanding of the subject. They are as follows:

  1. Autism can’t define me, only I can define autism.
  2. Give advice to others in the autistic community through your own experiences.
  3. If someone calls you “awkward,” just know that it means you’re “unique” and a lot better than “ordinary”.
  4. I’m great at several things and broken in none.
  5. Ignorance is all around us but awareness is around the corner if we want it to be.
  6. Feeling sorry for myself will get me nowhere.
  7. We need to stop labeling and instead integrate, “people with people” in our communities who have different needs.
  8. Inclusion in schools will never mean I’m secluded from an education.
  9. Autism is not a disease, rather a disability that every day I strive to become an A-bility.
  10. Communication never takes a vacation.

As someone diagnosed with Autism at a very early age, I know the, “conversation” doesn’t end here. What are your thoughts on this list? Feel free to comment below!

  1. June 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    What a great list! Thank you so much :)

  2. Lisa Madren
    June 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. What advice could you offer to my son, who is entering the 8th grade and would like to increase autism awareness at his school. I am thinking that a disability club in the middle school may be a fantastic idea!

    • June 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Lisa and fellow readers,

      If you have any questions for me please feel free to contact me at kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org. I will try to answer the best I can! Thank you all for reading!

      -Kerry

    • Barbara
      June 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

      My daughter did a class presentation when she was in 10th grade. It ‘explained’ her view on life as a diagnosed Aspi, her dis-association with her classmates, the whys and the hows of it all…and went on to share her strengths. It was well received and opened many doors between classmates. Also brought awareness to teachers in that the way she received/shared information could be used for several other students. Several teachers changed the way they taught to ‘include’ my daughter as the norm instead of excluding her as needing something different. A very empowering moment for all.

  3. m lett
    June 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Well said! Unique is always more exciting than ordinary!!!!

  4. June 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I think that the Autism is a disability thing is true, as I have strode to make myself better at everything I try. (I’m also Autistic)

  5. Shannon Terry
    June 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Well said, Kerry!

  6. Kevin
    June 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    A very interesting article. I too hope more and more people become aware of autism and get involved. There is too much ignorance out there about it. I hope Kerry will continue to show that a “disability” is only so when you allow it to be.

  7. gail chouinard
    June 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Hello my name is Gail I live in Holyoke Ma and i am pretty sure my daughter MacKenzie might or is aspergers, where would i look for help and info on aspergers she is in a pracial hospitalization program right now for a med ck and she has signs of a child with Autism ie loud noise alot of people and so on i dont know where to turn. i have all kinds of workers in my house. some would like to have her hospitalized for her out burst. she is on meds i had them take her off her aderal and she seems to be having less out burst but they still have her on different meds can you please try and help ty again thank you Gail Chouinard

    • Melissa
      June 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Hello gail, I would reccommed you going through your peditrican to start with tell them your concerns and thoughts on it and see what they say. If they don’t do anything then i would check with your local health dept and see if maybe they have place where she can go get tested. I hope this helps.

  8. June 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I loved this post. As a mom with an 8-year-old boy — just diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome about 2 months ago — I receive so much hope when I read the optimism in your life. Your parents must be so proud of you! Thanks for this post and for giving the rest of us a dose of sheer joy.

  9. April
    June 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Ten great ideas about autism! I prefer to say “Someone I love lives with Autism” rather than has Autism or is Autistic. Changing the mindset.

  10. June 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Kerry, My son is 6, has been in special ed for 3 years and is to go into regular ed kindergarten. what were your memories and experiences of elementary school?

  11. June 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Thats, good…But, I do feel sorry for the parents of dealing with a child with autism..I am a parent..of a son that has it…It is SO hard..Words cant describe..What me and my husband have to deal with on a daily basis…Feel even more sorry for the single parents..I couldnt imagine..

  12. Amanda Gross
    June 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you this is great. I’d like to quote your #5, may I?

  13. patnkellyh@comcast.net
    June 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I am a disability awareness merit badge counselor for BSA and I would love ideas on how to talk about autism/aspergers to make it real for the boy scouts. I have a 13 year old with aspergers and boyscouts has helped him tremendously!

  14. June 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    My 25 year old son is autistic – it’s not a dirty word. It means he is gifted in somethings but has difficulty reading body language, faces, and the spoken word. He’s severe to moderate and there’s a huge, huge difference compared to one who is only mildly autistic. Is he disabled? As much as I hate the word (due to stereotyping) I will admit he is. I loved your list. My son is highly intelligent in some areas, polite and gentle. He has a great sense of humor. He’s a wonderful person who happens to be autistic. Please keep in mind when educating the public that there are autistic people so severely affected that have little hope of living on their own. What will communities do for these individuals?

  15. Samantha
    June 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Your post was inspirational to me,. I’m a mother of a 3 year old son who is non-verbal and it is very hard for me because all i dream about is talking to my son, hearing his voice for the first time or even what his voice sounds like. Your story gives me hope that i know with having him in school at an early age and all of his therapy that he receives that one day he may follow your footsteps and accomplish what you have! Thank You very much! :)

  16. B's dad
    June 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I’d add that living with autism helps you to become (or strive to become) a better person.

  17. June 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Kerry, thank you for sharing you experience so that others can understand what it is like to have autism. You are a gift to the community!

  18. Kim Stafford
    June 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Thank you, Kerry, for those amazing words. As the mother of a 5 year old boy with autism, I am both inspired and encouraged by your accomplishments and your wisdom about having autism. I plan to print and save your list for my son to read when he gets a little older. Your words today will give fresh insight and inspiration for years to come!
    Thank you again, and best wishes to you!
    Kim Stafford

  19. June 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    As a mum of two kids with autism, thanks so much for your inspiration.

  20. Medinah
    June 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Very inspiring….this is for my son who is 10 and living with Autism!

  21. Anastasia
    December 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I’m an autistic girl,but I present more as asbergus.I have an asbergus friend who I rarely see,an imaginary dragon friend pair,my other friend is my 1 year old rat.I get around autism by drawing dragons,however I draw similar to my thoughts at the time.Recently I have been drawing lots of dark pictures.I feel depressed too.I think that list will help,I hope so.I can’t even go on supposedly ‘child-friendly’ internet games without being bullied about my obsession with dragons.They aren’t an obsession.They’re a doorway to freedom.Few recognize that though.

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