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Be Who You Are

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a graduate student at 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.

Have you ever had that day when someone calls you or one of your loved ones awkward, odd, or weird? I think I’ve been called all of those words every year since I was nine. What do these words even mean now anyways? I think the easiest way of thinking of this in today’s society is someone who is away from the “norm.” That one person who does something that doesn’t seem “right.” Society has set us up with a standard that is set for us to judge without reason.

This standard has hurt people with autism for decades. When I was diagnosed with autism at age 4, I would soon have some tendencies that would be far different than the established norm. I was going to have a hard time with eye contact, some difficulty with my motor skills and also would have a hard time speaking in front of crowds. None of this makes me any less of a person as the next. I don’t want the pity that some grant for having a disorder either. I just want to know that at the end of the day I’ll be allowed to be me with no judgment, no questions asked.

That’s why when I write this blog I encourage everyone reading, to lead by example by taking action. If we let ourselves and our loved ones be who they are proudly, we defy and ignore the criticisms of others and hopefully lead to a better, more aware world; autism and all. As a college graduate with autism, does this mean I may have some difficult times from others ahead? You bet. It sure beats the alternative though of not being who I want and was meant to be, and that someone is me.

*What things have people said about who you are you that make you different from the norm? Feel free to comment below!*

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 or through my Facebook Page here.

  1. William Wills
    September 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you Kerry for your words of wisdom. Coming from someone who knows first hand what it is like to be judged before knowing you. I myself have a son who is on the severe side of the spectrum (non-verbal with an obsesive compulsive behavior to beat all) Have been guilty of using inappropriate words from time to time. And when I have used them it is only afterwards that I look back and say to myself why did I use that word. Thinking of my son I would not want someone to direct those types of words towards him. So I have learned to think first and talk second. If everyone in this world would sit back and think first at whom they are talking to maybe then and only then will they become a better person.

  2. Adam Vogel
    September 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I remember when I was a kid people would call me names that were offensive, like the dreaded r-word. I wonder if they would call you obscene names too. Like yourself, I have some tendencies that seem to deviate from the norm. There’s nothing you can do except trying to cope with those tendencies.

  3. Meredith
    September 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Great Quote ~ Kerry

    ‎”I just want to know that at the end of the day I’ll be allowed to be me with no judgment, no questions asked.” “It sure beats the alternative though of not being who I want and was meant to be.” =0)

  4. Lynn RS
    September 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Kerry…in our family, we chose to educate…..I have been a parent advocate for 7 years and some of the situations I have encountered at schools are incredulous. In our house, we go by the motto, Those who matter, don’t mind. Those who mind, don’t matter. It will be 5 years before my autistic son goes off to college. Amazingly, seven years ago the thought that this could happen were not even in our thoughts. Thanks for paving the ways for others.

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