Home > Autism Speaks U, Awareness > LIVE Facebook Chat with Kerry Magro Transcript

LIVE Facebook Chat with Kerry Magro Transcript

2:52
Hi, I’m Kerry! I am really excited to be here with you today. I am excited to talk to you guys about my experience on the autism spectrum. Please feel free to ask me any questions you would like!
2:53
Comment From Michele

My Granddaughter is six years old, reads at 6th grade reading level, loves music and Pokemon and my question is she is in public school he has part time with special education and part time with her class. She has extreme fits of temper and I worry that she will not outgrow this? What do you remember from being so young and how did your family help and support you?

2:53
Hi Michele!
2:53
Comment From Michele

hi

2:54
From my experience, I had a difficult time transitioning from Public School to Private School. I remember the hardest thing for me was just adapting to change. So what my family did for me was try to focus on a similar routine no matter where I went, in regards to hobbies and activities to keep me focused.
2:54
Comment From Jennifer

My soon – to -be 3 year old was just diagnosed. At this age, she still is not talking. She will babbly out words here and there…but no sentences. Were you this way when you were small?

2:54
Hi there Jennifer
2:55
I was non-verbal til I was about two and a half and once at about that age I was very similar in regards to babbling and trying to pronounce words. It wasn’t until I was first diagnosed, at about 4, when I really started to notice a difference in my pronunciation towards words
2:56
Comment From Guest

Kerry- what was your functional level at 5 and what therapies did you receive (how frequently?) sorry if this is redundant! You’ll probably get this a lot. Congratulations on being a graduate, by the way. :)

2:56
Hi Guest! Thanks for the Congrats!
2:57
I remember when I was 6 I had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It was the first time I started with those types of therapies. What I think I had the most trouble with was sensory integration with regards to different sounds and I think having the ability to be so involved with different types of therapies really helped me out a lot
2:57
Comment From Michelle C

Hi Kerry did you always have language. I ask because my son had language and was developing above average then suddenly lost skills at 2 and a half. He is now 4 and a half.

2:58
Hi Michelle – I started gaining language after I was about 4
2:58
Comment From Melissa

I am the parent of an 8 yr old with autism. As someone with autism what do you wish your parents and teachers knew. Jacob is high functioning but isnt able to answer questions for me. I feel like we cant completely communicate.

2:59
Hey Melissa – I think what I wish my parents knew was the nuts and bolts of an IEP. I think an IEP was something my parents really didn’t understand at the time and I remember it was difficult because my parents really never knew when I was earlier on the spectrum what kind of services I would need to include in the IEP.
2:59
I would wish that my earlier teachers in public school knew more about how to handle students with a learning disability. Not all of them were trained in special education.
3:00
Comment From April

Although you were young, do you recall anything specific that made talking easier?

3:00
Hi April! I started taking theater when I was about 5 and what I remember the best thing about it was even though it was difficult for me with words, it helped to build my self confidence a lot. It really made a huge difference in my early development
3:01
Comment From Guest

What was challenging in school for you? Are there any strategies that your teachers taught you that were helpful?

3:02
What was challenging in school was for multitasking in being in school. There were a lot of accommodations that I didn’t understand why I needed them. When I started noticing other students didn’t have the same accommodations I did, I thought something was wrong with me. It was hard because I didn’t think I was on the same playing field as them. I didn’t fully understand what autism was in my early years
3:03
In regards to strategies that my teachers always taught me was to always understand that everyone has something that makes them unique. Ideally everyone is going to go at their own pace
3:03
Comment From Guest

I have a grandaughter and she is three. They have not specifically said she has autism but she has alot of the same problems babling and having very uncontrolled mood swings. My question is are any of you guys medicated?

3:05
I was never medicated. My parents never believed in the concept of medicated me and focused strictly on different types of therapies because they were worried about the concept of me, ‘not being myself’
3:05
Comment From guest

what you thimk is best private school or public?

3:06
I think it varies. You really have to put a lot of work in trial and error. Really in talking to the schools and getting a sense where your child fits in. In my opinion, there were good parts in both when I attended public in my earlier years and private for middle and high school
3:07
Comment From Guest

what form of Autism do you have?

3:08
I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS ) Pervasive developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. It is a more mild form of autism and if they don’t clearly have the traits of those with autism or Asperger’s
3:08
Comment From Michele

What did you major in and what are your future plans?

3:09
Hi Michele – thanks for asking. I majored in Sports Management and my future plans as of right now are to continue to work on my first novel, continue working on my website, and to hopefully do something in the field of marketing
3:10
Comment From Zach

Hello, Kerry! I’m Zach Posar, a 19-year-old High School Graduate with Autism. Coming near the end of this month, I will be moving to South Western Michigan College for Graphic Design. I would like some advice on how best to adjust to that kind of life.

3:11
Hi Zach – what I would say is that you really need to figure out your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to really go through a big change in regards to your overall day. What I did when I moved to college at Seton Hall, I focused on trying to find similar routines that I would do at home that I could implement in college; such as a specific time to do laundry, to eat, etc. and so forth
3:11
Comment From Richard Hackett

Is this thing on? My comments are not being posted.

3:12
Yes it is working! We are trying to get everyone’s questions answered!
3:12
Comment From Mark DiSciullo

Hi Kerry…first off thanks for sharing your time and insights with us. I have a 4 year old son with Autism. (high functioning, non verbal, PDD) … What are your memories of being that young and do you recall any of your frustrations in trying to communicate or having family trying to understand what you were trying to say?

3:13
Hi Mark! Most of my early memories being on the spectrum include difficulty pronouncing words. I had trouble with letters and sounds and I remember being very vulnerable would always seem to have an easier time than I did. It made me less ‘out’ and in some ways avoid them completely.
3:14
Comment From Jenny

My son has PDD NOS and wants to work but doesnt want to go to college probably because his LD is so severe did you struggle with ld at all?

3:15
I had the same problem going into high school. I didn’t think that I wanted to go to college because my LD was going to hold me back. At many times growing up I was told I would never get to college- that it wasn’t a possibility for me. It was definitely hard going through a lot of experts telling me I couldn’t do something. I proved a lot of people wrong and there is a lot to be said for giving your all and accomplishing your goals.
3:15
Comment From Kelly

What kinds of symptoms do you still have? Do you think those will ever go away?

3:17
One symptom that is very apparent in my life today is being touched by other people. It has always been a difficulty for me. I would always refuse hugs and something would tell me that it wasn’t okay. It has gotten a lot better, but when it is a surprise and get a touch or feeling from someone it bothers me. That is one symptom that has stayed with me.
3:17
Comment From Julie

Do you have any anxiety or anger management problems? My 28 year old son seems to escape using video gamd

3:18
Growing up when I was 6 years-old I was referenced by a doctor as emotionally unstable and without proper therapy I would have to spend the rest of my life in a mental institution. My parents spent a lot of time talking to the different therapists I had in regards to making the sessions as nurturing as humanly possible. I think overtime I really conquered my anger management issues. I still get anxiety from time to time but it isn’t as severe
3:19
Comment From Amanda

Hi! My son just turned 7, he has the same (PDD-NOS). At what age is a right time to explain to my son that he has Autism?

3:20
Hi Amanda! I was first told that I had autism when I was 6. The difference for me was I never understood what it meant until I was 11 or 12. My parents would tell me I was autism, but it would never connect that I had something wrong until I matured a bit.
3:20
Comment From Guest

What were your social interactions like? Family, friends, etc.

3:21
My Social interactions in my early childhood were focused specifically on my family only. It was very hard making friends and building my social interactions skills because I moved around from school to school to find the best accommodations for me possible. It wasn’t until middle school where I really found my place where I got to spend a few years in a program when it became easier for me to make friends.
3:22
Comment From Josephine

How long will you chat with people asking questions

3:22
Hey Josephine – I am on until 4 o’clock but I answer emails atkerry.margro@autismspeaks.org
3:22
If a question wasn’t answered today, please feel free to email me and I would love to get back to you!
3:23
Comment From Becky

How do you keep your attention focused on schoolwork? I’m a Sophomore in University with Aspergers, and my hardest thing to deal with is keeping myself focused and not letting my attention wander to things I consider more fun. Any suggestions?

3:25
Hey Becky! I think one thing that helped me a lot was having a recorder for all of my classes and having that accommodation because it gave me more of a safety net that I didn’t have to too focused on paying attention and I can just focus on the most important now and can come back to the other stuff later. That really helped me a lot
3:25
Comment From Karen

What support did you have while in college?

3:26
I had support through a disability support services on my campus. I would say that as a learning disabled student in college I received reasonable accommodations. I had extra time on tests, a laptop in all of my classes, a recorder as I had mentioned, a note-taker(another student who would take notes for me) and a private room to take all of my exams.
3:27
Comment From Brian

Hi Kerry, I’m Brian. I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, how important did you feel it was to make friends when you were growing up?

3:28
Hi Brian – I would say that is was somewhat important to make friends when i was growing up. I was an only child and in some instances that hindered my social interactions to a point. It made it more important to focus on making friends. It really didn’t become very important until I was in middle school or high school.
3:29
Comment From Michelle H.

How did you make friends in college?

3:30
I made friends by joining as many organizations as I could within the first weeks of college. My thoughts going into college was always to put myself out there and if I did that then everything else would come easy. So I guess the best advice I could give is to advocate for yourself and try to push yourself to areas you didn’t think you could go to
3:30
Comment From Zach

Incase you didn’t get this: What’s your advice for after College?

3:32
My advice for after college would be to focus on something you know you have a great strength in and pursue those strengths. After college I knew I had a strong interest in sports and marketing. With that in mind I have tried to effectively put that into play. I have an interview with ESPN in 7 days!
3:32
Comment From guest

did kids pick on you

3:34
Bullying has been an ongoing battle for me. Through my entire education experience, from grammar school through college. In public school the kids would pick on me who weren’t in my special education classes. The kids who would pick on me were those who thought I was different. They didn’t know a lot about me and just thought I was different. What was different to them was something they didn’t want to deal with. Early on there was a lot of bullying on. My parents always told me that some people are born with hate and there is really nothing you can do about it. There is nothing wrong with you, you have to ask what is wrong with them?
3:35
Comment From Guest

Did you play any sports?

3:36
Growing up I played tennis, soccer, basketball, bowling, and chess. My parents really tried to advocate for playing sports early on. I had difficulty with motor skills growing up and they saw it as a new brand of therapy, which would ultimately help me in the long run.
3:36
Comment From Melissa

should I home school my child or do you think it best to get him out in the world?

3:37
It really varies depending on the diagnosis of your child in regards to where they fall on the spectrum. If your child is on the high end I would consider letting them go to school just because I think social interaction is very important for individuals on the spectrum to to, but if they are on the low end I would play it by ear and just see what you are more comfortable with and go from there.
3:38
Comment From Crystal

Hey Kerry! Thank you for giving your advice and sharing your personal experiences with all of us! Do you feel like Autism has made you a stronger person?! :)

3:39
I feel like I have been going through a lot of struggles in my life and they have made me who I am today. With autism I know it was hard early on especially with speech and different difficulties, but I think autism has pushed me to become a person always wanting to do more and someone who always just wanting to try for a better tomorrow in many instances
3:39
Comment From Diana

Did you ever have to deal with a major move? Perhaps to another state? What did you do to adjust?

3:40
I was born and raised in New Jersey so I never had to make a major move. In my first four years of grammar school I attended three different schools. It was hard, but it really taught me that there is a lot of variety out there. I understood different types of cultures and surroundings and I think that helped me with my early intervention even though there were difficulties that came along with it.
3:41
Comment From Alexia

When you were younger did you obsess over certain things like certain tv shows or did you have any stims that you could not control? if so have you overcome this now?

3:42
I was obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles and Power Rangers for a good six or seven years and it was one of the biggest obsessions I have had in my entire life. With that I became obsessed with television in general. I started to get double vision when I was about 8. There was a difficult transition from watching a lot of TV to a little bit of TV. I found other interests that helped me pass the time
3:42
Comment From Jenny

Do you tell prospective employers that you are Autistic?

3:44
I don’t tell prospective employers that I am autistic until whether I know I got the job. I do this for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is I am aware that people in the world are not very knowledgeable about what autism is and what it isn’t. I know as an adult I can receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace. If i got the job I would tell them I was autistic, but if they asked me in an interview if I had a disability(which they can’t) I wouldn’t answer
3:44
Comment From Kelli

Did you ever have any pets? I have read that some benefit from therapy dogs at home/school.

3:46
My mom actually had 9 cats and early on I was only comfortable really interacting with holding and touching cats. I definitely think there is a therapy in regards to this with parents who have individuals on the spectrum. It is trial and error, but I have a friend who has an autistic son who is scared of dogs and all animals because of the sounds they make. It really depends
3:46
Comment From Guest

You have been very helpful to us today. Do you plan on becoming an advocat for Autism?

3:47
I hope that I do become an advocate for autism in many instances. Throughout my life I have been very involved in community service and in trying to make a difference in the lives of others. As I mentioned others, if there is any way I can assist in answering emails, please let me know. That is the reason I am here today!
3:48
Comment From Patrick

Do people make fun of you with autism kerry?

3:49
Early on kids would make fun of me because they could obviously see I struggled with a few things here and there. They would act out on that and it was very hard early on, but as I got older and as I started surrounding myself with more mature individuals I noticed a difference. In college, there was a minimum of people making fun of me and people with learning disabilities in general
3:49
Comment From Michelle H.

How did you decide to start the Student Disability Awareness Club?

3:51
I started doing disability awareness because there wasn’t an organization like that on my campus. I wanted to leave my college experience knowing that individuals such as myself with a learning disability would ultimately have someplace they can feel a family/community environment from. That is why I began
3:51
Comment From Greg

Speaking of kids. What are you’re thoughts and/or plans about having children of your own?

3:52
I have thought about this a lot and I really want to have kids someday and I think i will. I don’t think this is going to happen for a while, but I have always kept myself open to the opportunity to do that.
3:52
Comment From Kelli

Do you think that they will a cure someday?

3:53
I am very optimistic. I think that with how much modern science and technology have gone there is the possibility. In the end though, I really think i have embraced having autism and being autistic and I think that as a community we should aspire to, yes it would be great to have a cure one day, BUT we need to also embrace who we are and the concept of equality
3:54
Comment From Guest

What about dating/marriage/kids?

3:55
I didn’t really have my first real relationship until I was about 19 – once I had my first relationship, I didn’t really know what the norm was for relationships at all. All I had at my disposal was what I read about and the internet. Dating has grown leaps and bounds in the past years, but it is still something I am working on.
3:55
Comment From Diana

Did you have difficulty when it came time to learn how to drive?

3:57
I didn’t get my driver’s licence til I was 18 and even then, there were a few difficulties in regards to riding after a certain speed. For about a year I could only drive in and around cities – I was very intimidated of driving on highways where I would have to drive faster. It took a lot of experience to get behind the wheel everyday.
3:57
Comment From Dorrie

what kind of support system do you have? do you come from a large family? do you have supports in a faith?

3:59
I have a great support system at home in regards to my mom and my dad who have done so much for me. In regards to faith, I’ve been a Christian ever since I was 5 years old. Many times I have questioned my faith due to my disability, having autism, and thinking how and why could this happen to me and ultimately why was someone doing this to me. Early on, I didn’t understand why but now I have a better concept of faith because everyone deals with challenges. It is really how you fight through those challenges is what faith and what religion is telling us to do.
3:59
I would just like to thank you all so much. This has been a wonderful experience talking to all of you and hopefully I can answer more questions in the future for you
4:00
My email is kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org if you’d like to reach me and check me out on the Autism Speaks Official Blog!
4:00
Thank you!!!
  1. M. Delgado
    August 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I have had 2 PPT meetings with educational advocates: One qualified and another so very not. The qualified advocate attended the PPT and helped, she spoke their language. She has taught in the school and made valid points and also listened. I was very happy to pay her $450/$100 hr. The not qualified pressured me to sign a contract, attacked the school’s speech teacher, and then bullied me. The day after the meetiing she quit and sent an invoice for 4x the original amount agreed upon, then straight to court with a lawyer. Basically she write herself a check and made up fees to cover a year of services. I would not use her or recemmend her to anyone in CT. Now I am facing a future of making payments for this bogus bill, on top of everything else. Any suggestions? What can I do?

  2. Adam Vogel
    August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    After reading parts of the transcript from yesterday, I can relate to you very well. However, I spent all of my pre-college years at the public schools.
    I wish I had to opportunity to do my own Facebook chat, but I want to maintain my privacy, so I don’t have my own Facebook page. I should have my own website, but I’m not as computer literate as some people are.
    What are you doing with ESPN in a couple of days? I hear you graduated with a sports marketing degree Considering the fact you graduated with a degree in the business field, I wonder how much knowledge do you have in accounting, since I graduated with an Accounting degree at UW-Whitewater. Do you follow the markets as much as I do, whether following the news on CNBC, or PBS’s Nightly Business Report, or any other business channel. Hopefully, the market’s extreme volatility will settle down and the markets will start heading in the right direction again. However, neither I nor the founder of CNBC, Bob Wright can predict where the markets are heading right now. The markets are unpredictable that even ifJohnny Carson aka. Carnac the Magnificent, were still alive today, he couldn’t provide any answers to our own economic problems.

  3. August 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Kerry,

    Congratulations and thank you!!!! After reading through most of the transcript I would love to share part of my son’s story as a support and confirmation to what you spoke about.

    My son, Colt, is now 9 years old. He was officially diagnosed with autism when he was 3, but we had concerns with sensory issues and enrolled him in the early intervention programs at the early age of 16 months. As a baby, he had seemed to be developing normally, but around the age of 13 months, his language skills seemed to trail off and regress. He was also a tippy toe walker and when stimulated or over stimulated, he would furiously flap his little arms.

    Early Intervention is a very important key. Through the creative methods of his speech therapist (using a computer) we discovered that Colt had the innate ability to read …. and through reading he regained his voice. At 9 years old (4th grade) his reading and comprehension skills are at a high school level and his language skills are up to or beyond par. Colt attends public school and with the support of his para professional, he is able to spend a majority of the day in class with typical peers.

    As parents, my husband and I will look into all interventions that offer hope.

    Last fall, Autism Speaks published a study connecting autism with dysfunctional mitochondria. At the same time, I had available to me a nutritional supplement that is specific to supporting and rejuvenating our mitochondria. After confirming that this supplement would be safe and offer possible benefits, we decided to introduce it into Colt’s diet. I am proud to say that Colt’s progress has soared. His eye to eye contact has returned in full, the flapping of his arms has disappeared all together, he is engaging in back and forth conversation, he no longer has tantrums when “out of routine”. In fact, routine is no longer an issue or concern … but the biggest area of improvement is his social skills. Colt plays with other children. Before, he would always be on the outside looking in … now he is participating!!!!!

    We still have work to do on catching him up on his gross motor skills, but I see him moving out of the autism spectrum altogether.

    And like you Kerry, we are a Christian family. Our faith is opening up doors that otherwise would not have been revealed to us.

    May you continue to inspire and touch lives as we hope to do the same. Through early intervention, nutrition and faith we will find the answers.

    God bless,

    Stephanie

    • Carla
      August 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Amen stephanie early interventions a plus My son and i are christians and without the good lord we would have been a much bigger mess! he has sensory integration , speech appraxia, Autistic he is our official greeter at church doing much better every day has a fear of going back to school this next week due to bullying! i am on it. Have a great weekend!

      • August 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm

        Carla,
        Congrats to you too! If you are interested, I will share with you the nutritional supplement that we have Colt on … it made a world of difference especially in the area of his social skills. He went from always being on the outside looking in to actually participating and playing with other children. I have kept a daily journal since we introduced it to his diet and I know that you will be moved as you watch his world open up. I can only thank God for putting us in the right place at the right time …
        May we all receive the gifts that God has already bestowed upon us.
        Stephanie

        PS my two children are fighting like typical sibblings do … for this family that is AWESOME!

  4. Carla
    August 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Hi kerry as i read through all comments it is amazing how many people have problems getting the right support I have a son 13 now autism<aspergers< high function i have fought since he was in pre-scool noone understood what he needed as he went through grade school i fought for services he was misunderstood to put it nicely! i finally in 2rd grade got a diagnoses of pddnos speech appraxia but i kept hearing he is just acting out ! never has really had any friendsin 3rd grade the meanest teacher he ever had said there is nothing wrong with him i will never forgive this woman or his counsler who thought the same way! i took him to childrens mercy finally got what i knew the whole time i read i had the best home theropist in the world and to this day she knows more then anyone i have delt with in the school system. It has been a real struggle he is in his last year of middle school i am sick every year worried about the bullys, I am looking for a good social skills group for my son i live in jackson county been checking into a few been to a few that i was not pleased with i want some in his age group. Do u have any suggestions? I want to tell all parents with children on the spectrum stay involved in your childrens school fight for your rights take them to childrens mercy if u need a diagnoses the best! and pray alot . Thanks so much Carla

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