If You Knew Me...

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If you knew me…

You would know I was nonverbal at 2.5.

You would know I was diagnosed with autism at 4.

You would know I got kicked out of two preschools.

You would know I had extreme sensory-integration difficulties.

You would know I would lash out to get attention when I couldn’t communicate on my own.

You would know I twirled my hair.

You would know that when I was in school, my peers labeled special education “wrong” instead of “special.”

You would know I spent hundreds of hours a year in therapy to get to where I am.

You would know I spent hundreds of hours being bullied because of my diagnosis.

You would know that being institutionalized was a possibility.

But if you also knew me…

You would know I graduated grade school.

You would know I graduated high school.

You would know I graduated college.

You would know I received a masters degree.

You would know I have a job.

You would know I consulted for a major motion picture.

You would know I live independently.

You would know I consult to help parents who have children with autism.

You would know I am a national speaker, life coach and author.

You would know I have had a girlfriend.

You would know I love my family, my friends and the autism community out there.

You would know that I’m Kerry, and no matter what autism means or doesn’t mean I’m being the best me I can be.

Only if you knew me.

If you are reading this, please know that autism can’t define our loved ones and only we can define autism. I know so many kids on the spectrum today who are trying to be the very best they can be. We as a community have so many unique and beautiful stories to share so please make sure they are heard.

Kerry Magro is an international speaker on the autism spectrum. A version of this post originally appeared on Kerrymagro.com here