Voices of Autism : Kerry Magro tells his story


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

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.

I couldn’t rely on my own experience to give her an answer. There was no answer. Time felt slow for a while. 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?

A defiant and angry Kerry at 6 years old


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 like to talk  to parents. Each time I share my story that I’m  making an impact on a parent, a family, a friend–on 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, tell your story.

It’s time for all of us to listen.


Kerry Magro Today

Kerry is the Founder and CEO of KFM Making a Difference in The Community, a non-profit organization that is focused on special need housing for disabled individuals in New Jersey. Kerry, a recent Graduate of Seton Hall University works as a part time consultant for Autism Speaks as a Blog Writer. He has also worked as a Disability Advocacy Speaker speaking at several events about his life on The Autism Spectrum.

Do you have a story to tell? Read submission guidelines HERE


About the author

Laura Shumaker is a nationally recognized writer, autism and disabilities advocate. Her essays have appeared in many places, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and in a popular autism and disabilities blog for The San Francisco Chronicle. She’s the mother of three terrific sons, and her oldest son, Matthew, is the subject of her book A Regular Guy: Growing Up with Autism.


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