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.
Should I even be surprised? College has taught me many things; how to self-advocate, how to spread awareness, and maybe most importantly that if you have a passion for something you need to go for it no matter the costs. At the same time what college also unfortunately taught me was that there are still a great deal of ignorant people out there that simply think of the black and white and avoid the grey completely. One problem that I see as a huge indicator of this is the whole concept of “out growing” your autism. When I was first diagnosed my psychiatrist told my parents that autism was a life long diagnosis while at the same time other doctors told them there was a possibility that certain individuals would out grow the symptoms that led to the diagnosis. I think the whole belief of this puts negative annotations toward our community. Saying someone has out grown means someone can be inclined to say someone was cured of something naturally and diminishes the need for legislation reform and funding. In either case I think we need to avoid those debates as they just cause clutter overall. I feel more and more that I fall in the ever-growing “Grey” section of people. Sure, I graduated from college and am in graduate school but I’ve had two decades of multiple therapies and learned over time to take care and progress within myself. I’m also clearly not the typical “normal” that some people look for. I have eccentric tendencies that make me unique. My question for those reading is, “What do you think is unique about autism that makes the understanding of individuality important?” Let me know if you have any thoughts! Thanks everyone! I just started a new video blog called “My Autism My Voice,” and this is one of the topics I discuss. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Facebook page here.