As a public speaker who talks about growing up with autism I often like to share a quote or two from people within my presentations that truly reflect the current state of our autism community. We have popular quotes such as Dr. Temple Grandin where she says “Different, not less” to Dr. Stephen Shore’s quote of “If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.”
One of my favorite quotes though which sometimes falls under the radar when I give talks to groups is from Stuart Duncan, an autism advocate who has a son on the autism spectrum. I first learned about this quote when he posted it on Twitter in 2012.
While I like this quote I personally like to say “Autism is one word trying to describe millions of different stories.’ This quote had a significant impact on me for many reasons but most importantly because it highlights the importance of discussing the ‘spectrum of autism.’ Everyday I still encounter people who see autism as a one-size-fits-all and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are people such as myself who after overcoming many obstacles have full-time jobs today but there are also going to be in our autism community who are going to need 24/7 lifetime care.
I was reminded about this quote recently because I speaking about my own journey on the autism spectrum to a 3rd grade classroom. One of the boys, who came up to me in Batman pajamas considering it was Pajama Day told me after my talk that he was on the autism spectrum. I looked at the boy and smiled. While we continued to talk I was blown away when he told me he knew Dr. Temple Grandin and Stuart Duncan amongst other advocates. It was then he told me that Stuart’s quote was also one of his favorite too. What amazed me most during this encounter though was this boy was telling his own unique story. At that moment I thought back to myself when I was growing up in school when I didn’t know anyone in the autism community I could look up too like the Stuart, Stephen and Temple. When I was about this boy’s age I was just learning I had autism for the first time and didn’t know how to tell my story.
I’m thankful that in this day and age though we are encouraging more members of our autism community to share their stories and to live in the embodiment of this quote. For those reading this today, I hope you will continue to share your story as well because we truly need you too if we want to break down barriers of ignorance. By doing this you could potentially even be a role model one day.
Now as an adult I hope I can be one of those role models too.
Kerry Magro, an anti-bullying activist, professional speaker, best-selling author & autism entertainment consultant who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help us continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.
Also, consider having Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!