An Autistic Life – Kerry Magro

This guest post is by Katie Melchior, a young woman who is diagnosed with autism and plans to attend Ocean County College. Melchior is applying for the Spring 2024 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4, and you can read more about my organization here. Autistics on Autism: Stories You Need to Hear About What Helped Them While Growing Up and Pursuing Their Dreams, our nonprofit’s new book, was released on March 29, 2022, on Amazon here for our community to enjoy featuring the stories of 100 autistic adults.

“Oh, but you don’t LOOK Autistic!” is a saying that people on the spectrum know all too well. Although meant to be a compliment and well intended, what is Autism supposed to look like?

I have spent my whole life masking, pretending to be a person I am not, trying to appease the neurotypical, allistic ideal of what a person should act like. Make eye contact whenever you speak to someone, but don’t stare. Talk about your interests, that’s how you make friends! But, not too much. And, don’t talk about politics, or money, or sex, or religion. Honesty is the best policy, until I am too honest. But, you can’t lie, that’s wrong. Show people you are smart, but do not brag. Stick to your morals, but nothing is “black and white”. Unspoken rules have always had a place in neurotypical society, but will I ever understand them? It seems as if everyone else does, without question.

I grew up essentially non-speaking until the age of 14, relying on written language as my main form of communication. I was diagnosed as “situationally mute” when I was three years old, which was a fancy way of saying, “We don’t know.” Along the way, doctors diagnosed me with ADHD, Pragmatic Communication Disorder, and OCD, before Autism was even diagnosed when I was sixteen- a problem many Autistic girls face. But, I always knew there was something different about the way my mind worked.

Despite my inability to speak, I was continuously being placed in advanced classes, and reading six novels a week. Even though I was always proving my intellectual capabilities, other kids- and sometimes teachers- constantly questioned, “Why is she in this class?” Neurotypicals placing verbal and spoken communication on a pedestal, is a harmful rhetoric that made me outcast from the get go.

Through being “outcast”, I found my passion for art. I became a professional artist when I was fifteen years old, selling out at my first gallery opening. I was over the moon excited. I attribute my artistic talent to my Autistic mind, and my strict way of perceiving the world around me. In the art world, I wasn’t ‘weird’- I was eccentric- I had a story to share.

When I was sixteen years old, I made a TikTok video joking around about my Autism with my younger sister, which received thirteen million views. I gained twelve thousand followers overnight, and people from all over the world saw a small part of my Autistic life. People started to ask me questions about my experience living with Autism. Allistic people finally seemed to care- to want to learn about my mind. I noticed that many people have a preconceived notion about Autistic people. People think we can’t accomplish anything in life, or even comprehend basic concepts.

To this day, I continue making videos about Autism, answering questions about my disability. I get hundreds of comments from other Autistic people, thanking me for my advocacy work and sharing that they no longer feel alone. And yet, every time I start to love and accept my Autistic mind, I open my social media and see comments such as, “I love eugenics LOL” and “You would cause me to leave my family if you were my child.” It makes me wonder, “Is it worth it?” Is my advocacy and hard work making enough of a difference for me to continue? I’d like to think that somewhere, a young girl has watched my videos and realized, “Life isn’t over because of my diagnosis”. And that has made it worth all the distress.

Now, I am in my second year of college. I’m an adult-which is something no one ever feels prepared for. Despite graduating high school when I was sixteen, two years early, I still feel behind. I still can’t write a professional email without Googling how, or have a fluid-sounding conversation with my neurotypical peers. My eating habits are never healthy. It was only last year that I spent two months only eating canned oranges- because that was the only thing my Autism would allow me to eat. Sometimes- my mom even has to remind me to eat- and I’m eighteen years old! Autism is not a superpower, despite what some people say to try to make me feel better.

I’m still learning to live with my Autism, even though it’s almost been two decades. But, I need to remind myself: that’s okay. Life will always be harder because of my disability- that’s why it’s classified as such. But life being harder, doesn’t mean it’s not worth living.

Follow my journey on Facebook, my Facebook Fan Page, Tiktok, Youtube & Instagram.

What happens to children with autism, when they become adults? | Kerry Magro | TEDxMorristown (

My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum. I started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.

Autistics on Autism: Stories You Need to Hear About What Helped Them While Growing Up and Pursuing Their Dreams was released on March 29, 2022 on Amazon here for our community to enjoy featuring the stories of 100 autistic adults. 100% of the proceeds from this book will go back to our nonprofit to support initiatives like our autism scholarship program. In addition, this autistic adult’s essay you just read will be featured in a future volume of this book as we plan on making this into a series of books on autistic adults.


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