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Poem: Only if you knew me

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro, a motivational speaker and best-selling author who’s on the autism spectrum. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebook and Twitter. This blog originally appeared here.

If you knew me…

You would know I was nonverbal at 2 and a half

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.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.