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Breaking Down Stereotypes: Mastering Communication

This Autism Speaks U guest post is by staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a graduate student at Seton Hall University

A few days ago I celebrated my 1-year anniversary since deciding to commit to Seton Hall University to pursue a masters in Strategic Communication. One question that constantly seems to come up from people is why would I do that to myself. Why of all options out there did I see Strategic Communications as a fit for me?

You see communicating (especially public speaking) was always one of my greatest weaknesses growing up. I started to talk late, the words were just never there. When words came, I couldn’t get them out right. I just didn’t know how to do it. Unless I had it memorized, I was doomed from the get go.

It wasn’t until high school, when I began playing basketball, that I really found my confidence. Being good at bouncing a ball truly changed how I communicated. It made me believe I could do something right, and made me willing to take on the challenge of public speaking. Now, seven years later I find myself with both a high school and college diploma.

            

 

Even after graduating college I still wasn’t the best communicator out there. Many people thought I was nuts for doing a masters in an area that those on the spectrum are usually characterized for having deficits with. What people didn’t understand was that I chose this because it was what I was destined to do. No one is perfect at communicating, but through my voice and my passions I knew this is where my life was directing me. As long as I had my passions and was able to share them, I knew I was going to be okay.

With the celebration of the 1-year anniversary, comes the news that I’m now only 7 months and 5 classes away from graduating. This spring semester I had a perfect 4.0 giving me a 3.909 GPA overall average and I am also halfway through my final thesis!

There is something everyone reading this must understand; we must see autism as what it really is, and that is broad. Autism is becoming an old man like me, and has been around for years now. We are becoming more knowledgeable about what autism is, but we are also becoming more understanding. There are now possibilities out there for individuals with autism that we may have never imagined in the past.

Along with my masters, I am also celebrating last my 1-year anniversary since I began doing motivational speaking professionally as well for disability advocacy. It has been an amazing journey so far and today I can say one of my weaknesses is now one of my strengths. I’m excited to see what lies ahead in the future not only myself but the autism community as well. We are breaking down the steryotypes of autism everyday!

Carpe diem!  Here’s to the future!

If you would like to contact Kerry directly about questions/comments related to this post he can be reached at kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org or through his Facebook page here.