Experts never expected this to be my future.
If you told me as a child that one day I would be able to say that I would have a Doctor in Education I’d probably tell you that you were crazy. In 1990 at the age of 2.5, I still wasn’t talking. My parents were very concerned about this. Most of the toddlers they knew were saying their first words while I was barely even making any sounds. This heightened worry led to my parents going about searching for answers.
About 18 months later after that initial search I was diagnosed with autism at 4. There was a sigh of relief. It was life changing for my parents to finally have a formal diagnosis for me to begin the road towards therapies to help me progress.
As years would go on I would find my voice more and more. My therapies at first felt like a job but, as I saw myself achieve more and more milestones, I’d have more self-motivation in myself to push myself.
Once I graduated from high school I went to Seton Hall University to study Business Management with a concentration in Sports Management. My autism has been able to give me a laser focus that has always been in sports, which made me want to go after this degree. 4 years later I would graduate and proved many experts wrong who said I’d never receive a college degree.
I then decided to pursue my other key interest in being on stage with a Masters in Strategic Communications so I could pursue a career in public speaking. After graduating with my Masters I would take time to focus on my job and social life until I decided to pursue my Doctor in Education at New Jersey City University in the hopes of being able to one day teach at the university level about our special needs community.
3 years of learning about our educational system and a 142 page dissertation paper later led to the opportunity to finally call myself a Doctor.
For those reading this I want you to remember that autism is a spectrum. My story is my own. I also want to be sensitive because I know individuals on the spectrum who will need lifetime supports. My advice for our community is something that Dr. Temple Grandin once told me which is that we need to ‘stretch our kids.’ The importance of meeting a child where they are in their own development is pivotal to helping these kids stretch. This is something my parents truly lived be in helping me progress.
Even though I’m done with my classes now, I’ll never stop trying to educate myself and learn as much as I can. I encourage others in our autism community to continue to learn everyday to go after your goals to the best of your abilities.
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. 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!
We’d also appreciate if you could take a minute to create a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here.