Monday, August 27, 2012

16 positives of having autism (from someone who knows)

This guest post is from Kerry Magro, an award-winning autism advocate diagnosed at age 4. Now 24, he is a graduate student in Strategic Communications and Leadership at Seton Hall University. Kerry is also the co-host of Autism Radio: Hope Saves The Day, a columnist for Autism After 16, a life coach, a motivational speaker, a youth delegate for The United Nations and the writer behind the blog My Autism My Voice. He has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, and served as an advisor on the movie Joyful Noise starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Last summer, he received the 2011 Outstanding Individual with Autism Award from the Autism Society of America. I asked him if he could share thoughts to inspire parents of kids with special needs. What he had to say:

My name is Kerry and I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), a form of autism, when I was 4. As a kid, I had sensory integration problems, motor deficiencies, speech delays, and social awkwardness. I could not even begin to tell you the stories of how aggressive I was. Lashing out was my communication and it led to emotional issues for years for me.

Over time though things did progress. The anger of not knowing the world and how to express myself became a place of understanding. For a long time I thought the reason why I was able to get to where I was today was because of my therapies (I had physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy from 6 to 18). Another factor I thought contributed to this was because of my parents love for me. Above all though what really set me a part and made me begin to not only see life differently but also understand the world so much more was a positive attitude. Once I stopped beating myself up for not being the best talker, the best writer, or even the best looking guy, I began to focus on who Kerry was today and what he did well.

I can’t tell you exactly when I started to think in this mentality but when it hit me I was on a different path than I once was. Over thinking about what I didn’t have turned into self-reflecting on what I did have. I began looking at positives such as my great memory for sports. I began looking at my love for movies and turning that into an acting career (which would then begin my role as a national motivational speaker today). Having this attitude led to me graduating grade school, high school, college and now fulfilling my dreams of getting a masters degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership to become an advocate for the future generation of Kerry Magros out there.

For those readers out there, especially those parents who are reading this, what I hope you take out of this is that the power of a positive attitude can do wonders for not only your life but also the lives of your kids.

I hope everyone remembers that….

• Autistic people are gifted
• Autistic people can surprise you
• Autistic people can focus on certain interests for long periods of time
• Autistic people are passionate
• Autistic people are non-judgmental
• Autistic people are honest
• Autistic people are rarely boring
• Autistic people are special
• Autistic people are logical
• Autistic people are loyal
• Autistic people are interesting
• Autistic people are wonderful
• Autistic people are diverse
• Autistic people are imaginative
• Autistic people are unique, and as Temple Grandin says, “Different but not less”
• Autistic people, no matter where they are on the spectrum and regardless of how many traits listed above they may or may not have, are just "people." People with weaknesses but also strengths, destined for their own greatness in the way they see fit. I hope we can all cherish these facts because if we can, our autism community would be even more phenomenal than it already is.


  1. Love this post! It's too easy to look online and find a post about the negative aspects about autism and so refreshing to see that the positive can be so much more of a driving force! Love!

  2. Thank you for this post. My friend emailed this to me. My son was recently dianoged with moderate autism at 16 monthes old. This gives me hope.

  3. Wonderful post, thanks!

  4. Excellent post! Thank you for sharing, Kerry!

  5. Kerry, you are an amazing young man! I have a son who is in the early stages of being diagnosed with PDD-NOS as well, he's 2 and exhibits many of the behaviors you described. The uncertainty of just how dibilatating his impairment is is probably the most heart breaking part for me. You my dear have given me hope! You are truly inspirational and I will keep what you've said in mind and remind myself to stay positive. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  6. My little grandson (almost 6 yrs old - diagnosed at 14 months) is one of the most wonderfully loving little boys I know. He is uniquely him with all of his quirts, his beautiful smile, refreshing laughing, and his most loving hugs .... I don't know that I'd have him any other way. To Kerry -- and all the many other Kerrys out there, thank you for showing us that you - with all your challenges - teach us (me) something about myself every single day.

  7. Fantastic post! I work with children on the spectrum and believe me I know I'm blessed to work with kids who have autism . Every word in this post is so true and will be sharing with my colleagues. Well done! :-) Michele (michele4kids)

  8. Hello Kerry

    I hope it's okay but I'm going top print off your list of all the great things about having autism and put it on the wall of my work. I work for a community organisation that has a lot of members who have autism and my son has autism too. I think it's very important for people to know all the positive aspects of autism. None of us would be where we are now without it!



  9. wow thanks i used this and a project and dont worry i said it was urs but i want to say thank you i look up to u your my hero

  10. Thank you so much for this post, I'm doing research on the positives on having autism and you have definitely helped me.

  11. This isn't the best post, you did not explain how. How are they honest, how are they logical, how are they loyal. And I just created a paradox, you said people who are autistic don't judge... but I am autistic and I am judging you. So the paradox will never end!!!!!!

    1. Nice paradox but I think there is a minor detail in the difference between judging and non-judgemental. I myself have autism and I often judge people, we all do all the time; however, I think it is the precise definition, which is important:

      non-judgemental - "tending not to judge other people *harshly* or *unfairly* : not too critical of other people"

      I am not a scientist nor have I done any research in this are but from observations I think it is quite safe to say "Autistic people are non-judgmental" after all.

  12. Hi I am a Filipina teenager, age 17, and I realized I have autism after reading about it and its signs through children's and adult's behavior. I actually don't like the idea of jumping into conclusion but I just felt there really is something wrong. Before I was a carefree and dependent person and then a lot of unexpected things happened in school that made me depressed. My relatives had been telling me I always wear the same kind clothes, watch movies every free time, and doesn't seem to have friends of my age. I often want to just play computer games after school. I kinda look awkward and feel scared of people and darkness. Now I don't know what to do but change a lot of things and defeat this illness.
    I want to thank you for giving people like me hope and positivity. Although things are much harder and scary in our perspective compare to those of normal people, those things gave confidence. Being different is fun and totally fine.

  13. This is just he's perspective. Not anybody else every autistic person is different "so give thks gental man a "brake"

  14. I an not autistic but looking back over my life I think that my most
    favourite people have been autistic - perhaps undiagnosed. Autism certainly in my view is not negative. Plenty of people I know without Autism lack all the social skills in the world!


Thanks for sharing!

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