Has anyone ever said to you, ‘You have autism? But you look so normal!’
When I was diagnosed with autism at 4 my parents could never imagine someone coming up and saying this to me. Experts considered me on the severe end of the autism spectrum. I didn’t say my first word till I was 3 and it would take many years for me to truly find my voice. For a while, my parents were worried about what my future would look like. Therapies such as music, theater, occupational, physical and speech therapy played a big part in my development and now today I’ve overcome a lot of my challenges.
A problem I face though is that when people come up to me today and they see that I’m a professional speaker and author is that they think I don’t still deal with obstacles and challenges as someone on the autism spectrum. My challenges don’t show up, as easily on the surface now so people often think they aren’t there. What people don’t know is that I still struggle with transitions at times and with making friendships. I also feel overwhelmed at times with sensory challenges in places like airplanes where unexpected turbulence can make me uneasy because it’s something I can necessarily plan for.
Others tell me when I bring up the topic of invisible disabilities that, “You should be lucky to be so high-functioning.” Autism is a spectrum, don’t get me wrong and I feel truly blessed to have been able to progress. I know some will need more help then others in our community but we should try to help all those who need it.
For me I know I still need help at times and I hope that those who have an invisible disability like me won’t be brushed aside because our disabilities might not be visible.
This is something I hope we can educate our community on because it’s not only people with autism who face this but those with other disabilities like ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, among others.
As I tell everyone I meet; if I could have one wish for our community is that the word ‘progress’ becomes the mantra. Progress for every person with autism and person on this planet for that matter so they can live their best lives possible.
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author 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.
Have 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!