Home > Autism Speaks U > This Is Why I Speak

This Is Why I Speak

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a graduate student at Seton Hall University, and is actively involved with our college program. Autism Speaks U is an initiative designed to support college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts.

“My 5 year old son was just diagnosed with PDD-NOS and has no speech. Will he ever be able to speak?” 

Kerry Magro at age 4.

While the young mother stood before me in tears, I felt trapped; trapped because I couldn’t tell her that everything was going to be alright.

When I look back at my life, that 6 year old boy, going into first grade with so much anger, and so many emotions, it was almost too much. I knew back then I was mad. I was lashing out because I didn’t know how to communicate in an appropriate manner. That was almost 16 years ago. I was that 6 year old again. What would it take for her son to be able to speak one day? Would he be as lucky as me?

So, I surprised myself. I hugged her. I hugged this complete stranger for what probably ended up being 5 minutes. No words were said. I could only hear her sobbing and I almost joined her several times. I knew I couldn’t answer her question, but by telling her about my journey, I could give her hope.

I reflected back to the journey that I had had led me to where I am today. The therapies, the special need classrooms, the accommodations, the hate, the ignorance, the awareness, the drama, the acceptance, the struggle, the tears, the heartache, the strength, the friends, my mom, my dad, and above all else the love that has made my journey worth every second.After we hugged I told her my story. I told her about that 6 year old boy and how he became who I was today. 15 minutes later tears of uncertainty had become tears of hope for not only her but for her son.

This is why I speak. Each time I share my story I pray that I’m making an impact on a parent, a family, a friend, etc. for the future of the autism movement. I may not be a scientist, or an expert in the field, I just know what it’s like to grow up–and thrive with autism. So, if you have autism, especially those young adults out there who are trying to spread awareness at the college level or beyond, tell your story.

It’s time for all of us to listen.

*I shared this story with my friend Laura Shumaker on her official website here as well. Thanks Everyone!*

This is one of my Autism Speaks U related blog posts. If you would like to contact me directly about questions/comments related to this post I can be reached at kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org or through my Facebook Page here.

  1. Tracey Thomas
    November 14, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I consider you an expert – you live it! Thank heavens you are out there speaking and helping others!

  2. November 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I struggle with occasional communication difficulties in situations that are new to me because I find transitions quite challenging. While I’m in class, I’m often quite quiet and daydream excessively. I have noticed a distinct pattern in my communication style and that is I find myself often speaking in partial sentences. When I speak, quite frequently another thought will enter my mind and I struggle filtering it out. When this happens I find myself getting “lost in two worlds at the same time”. Since my condition is quite mild, my symptoms have gone overlooked and I never had the intervention I sometimes would have liked to receive.

  3. November 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

    My youngest son was diagnosed three years ago with Autism/ADHD and a friend introduced me to a natural product made primarily from milk.
    I used this product and saw results in two months. Today my son shows no signs of Autism/Adhd, he is doing great in school and takes the initiative to do everything, truly a turnaround from the way he used to be. After the production of this milk it is the closest to mother’s milk and it is recognized by many Doctors today, if anyone is interested in finding out more about this, please email me at asha.persaud@gmail.com. Thank you.

    • Kristy
      November 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      I have heard there may have been a link between vitamin D and autism. When I was pregnant with my second child, I saw a specialist who made sure my vitamin D levels were up while I was pregnant just in case. Also, I’ve heard some have had successful results with providing vitamin D supplements in their child’s diets. I have no idea because I have not researched it, and it is still not proven. However, I am wondering if there is a link to this “milk product” that you’ve used and if it has anything to do with vitamin D, since milk has vitamin D in it. This is also why it could seem to help to get our spectrum kids outside in the sunshine and why they may have more difficult in the winter months and colder weather. Just some thoughts.

    • Grisel
      November 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Is there any way you can tell me about the product, as I have a grandson that has
      ASPERGERS Syndrome in the high functioing Autism Spectrum.

  4. mary
    November 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. The more people that share their story, the more understanding and compassion there will be regarding this mysterious diagnosis. As a Special Educator, I can only “guess” and observe what your world is like. I hope to be able to communicate better in the future as my exposure is expanded to those people that are on the ASD spectrum. God Bless you all!!!

  5. November 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I think I understand how the young mum feels. My son did not speak until he was 9 or 10. It was not gradual, it was sudden, just as though someone had turned on a switch. At first it was just, ‘No’. Then it was whole sentences. I hope the young mum and son will be just as lucky as us.

  6. November 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    So inspiring… thank you. I have a gorgeous son who has ASD. He is about to move from Kinder to Primary School (he will be five then). His language has exploded in the last few months.. but I still have such grave fears for him and his future. Your story has given me hope.

  7. November 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    My identical twin sons were diagnosed with autism last week. They are 21 months old. Thank you for giving me hope – I really needed to read this. Thank you.

  8. A's Mum
    November 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have son with ASD who is nearly 5 years old and still has very little speech and I still have a lot of doubts and wonder if he will speak too, so I understand how the Mum feels. I get a lot of people telling me not to give up hope since he is still so young and that he will most likely eventually talk but I still have the fear that he will end up non verbal. It is so much better when you hear good outcomes from someone on the Autism Spectrum rather than those without it.

  9. Andrea
    November 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you Kerry!

  10. Alicia
    November 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    My son is 5 yrs and does not speak he is verbal just not words except on rare occassions he is communicating with P.E.C cards there is a lot of work but I never give up hope as long as you have hope your children will progress he suprises me all the time does things that a week before I would not thought possiable. expect the same things you would any child just in a different time frame and mabey a different way and savor the triumps and don’t dwell on set backs just keep moving forward you’ll be happy and so will your child and in a positive inviorment(where’s my spell check) you both will thrive and have a wonderfull time

  11. John Scott Holman
    November 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Great to see another autistic onboard. A blogger and a staffer for Autism Speaks! Way to go Kerry! Hope to meet you soon!

  12. Candy Johnson
    November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is truly wonderful how far you have come. My 13 year old daighter has Autism. She has come from having 5 words to a vocabulary of well over 100 words. She still has problems communicating. Most can not understand her. I think its great how far she has come. She has along way to go and reality has her always needing assistance. But thats ok. I just want people to know “If you meet one Autistic person, you’ve met one Autistic person

  13. November 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Dear Mr. Magro,

    This is not an attack or even necessarily a criticism. I have an honest question for you: why do you work with Autism Speaks? I understand what they can give you. I would love the backing of someone with a real website and a budget. It would help me as an activist to have someone’s stamp of approval instead of being a student, a nobody, alone. I gave them a try over the summer on their forums. They were harsher and more prejudiced than I feared. Their stated goal is a world without people like us. Do you want that? Do you think you will do more good with a large organization behind you than you could without help? Do you think you can change them?

    Feel free to respond privately. My most-checked email address is already public knowledge in Atlanta. You and your readers had might as well have it, too:


    I am logged in on Twitter and Facebook, so you can find me there or on Tumblr at


    I will not shout or argue, but I would like an answer,


    R. Larkin Taylor-Parker

  14. Ann Mulligan
    November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Thank you Kerry for sharing your inspirational story. And I agree with other posters, you are an expert! (mother of one beautiful 9yo autistic boy)

  15. Monica Cruz
    November 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    thank you for giving me hope back again. I pray that my non verbal almost 5 year old son will be able to communicate son. Your story brought tears of joy!

  16. Cheryl G
    December 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Its just comforting to hear about “success stories”. I have a 4 year old diagnosed with PDD-Nos when she was 2.5. It is very frustrating and mentally painful to see her struggle with things that come so naturally to her older sister. She is making a lot of progress and speaking, but not making conversation. Thank you for sharing your story. When I first read it, it got me through a tough day. Whenever I am having a tough day with her I read it, and when she is having a great day full of break throughs, I read it too. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish you much sucess and happiness in your life!!!

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