I recently read a blog that hit home for me from Gretchen Fishman where she discusses a moment she at the dentist where the hygienist told Gretchen, “I’m so sorry” in response to telling her that her son is on the autism spectrum.
This really hit home for me in my own personal journey having autism. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a date, speaking at a conference or meeting a new friend for the first time when this has been said to me.
You should never feel sorry for me.
I understand that some people may mean well when they make this comment but my autism, which once was considered severe during my adolescence, has become one of my greatest strengths today as an adult. It’s given me the ability to have a laser focus when it comes to things such as my career in public speaking and my love of basketball and movies. I’m not sure if I’d be as successful in this line of work if it wasn’t for having autism. Sure, I still deal with struggles today but they haven’t defined me and who I am.
Granted, I know autism is a wide spectrum and that for many families who may read this who have a severe child on the autism spectrum may not consider autism as a ‘strength.’ I get it. We are learning more about autism everyday. I can only hope in the future this will lead to more and more therapies (occupational, speech, physical, music and theater helped me tremendously!) and services to benefit our loved ones so they can progress every single day, reach their developmental milestones as they get older and, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, help them find their strengths and talents one day.
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!