My Life as an Autistic Person

This guest post is by Amanda Healey, a young woman who is diagnosed PDD-NOS and is attending Eastern Connecticut State University. Healey 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.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disability that affects how individuals interact with the world. It exists on a spectrum, which means the symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Some autistic people need extra help with daily tasks, and other autistic people are capable of taking care of themselves. Despite having a variety of struggles, many autistic people can lead fulfilling lives. Although my autism has caused challenges for me, I am grateful for how it has shaped my personality, regardless of how other people might perceive me.

Even at an early age, I knew I was different from my peers. I did not start talking until I was 3 years old, and whenever I was excited or frustrated, I would stim by rubbing my face. Because of my speech delay, I was enrolled into the Preschool Outreach Program (POP) as a toddler, where I was placed in a group of kids with similar struggles. Not only was I given extra help in class, but I also went to a separate room for Speech and Occupational Therapy. With this extra help, I was able to catch up to my peers, and by the time I was in kindergarten, I was eligible to be mainstreamed into my town’s public elementary school system. Upon entering public school, I would soon grow a love of learning. I was extremely intelligent, and my brain would retain information for long periods of time, especially when it was related to history. History was, and still is, one of my favorite subjects, as I enjoyed learning about ancient cultures and past events. Another class I thoroughly enjoyed was art. Not only did I love working with different materials, but I had a keen eye for detail and would focus on the project intensely until it was complete. Despite my academic success, people still sensed that there was something different about me. Not only did my classmates notice my stimming, but I would be bullied due to my sensitive nature. Even the teachers noticed something was off, as despite my intelligence, I struggled to pay attention to my schoolwork. As a result, I took a longer amount of time to complete assignments. Because of these traits, the school recommended a series of tests that would determine whether or not I was autistic.

When I received my diagnosis in 2010, I knew it was going to change my whole life. Not only did I fear being forced to switch schools, but I started to fear that once people found out I was autistic, the bullying would escalate. And for a while, my fears seemed validated. I only told my “secret” to a group of close friends, whom I thought I could trust. However, they would later accuse me of faking my autism for attention. After that incident, I resolved to take my diagnosis to my grave. Even as I found a better group of friends during middle school, I did not feel comfortable discussing my autism. Yet, as much as I tried to behave more neurotypical, everyone seemed to notice something was different. It made me feel like I was always an outsider. Eventually, I started to wish for a cure to get rid of my autism so that I could be treated like everybody else.

Going into high school, I had originally planned to continue keeping my diagnosis a secret. It worked for the first year, and nobody seemed to suspect anything. However, when I was 15, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a video called “When God Created the Autistic Child,” by Arinka Linders. It made me see the positive side of my autism, which included my intelligence, my eye for detail, and my compassion. I realized that my autism was not a disability for people to use for judgment; it was part of my personality, and that a “cure” would take those traits away. Since that day, I’ve grown more comfortable with sharing the fact that I was autistic. While I do still sometimes question if people view me differently, nothing bad has come out of being open about my disability.

Despite the struggles I had, I believe autism makes me a better person. It enables my brain to absorb and retain information, allows me to be detail oriented, and allows me to better empathize with people. It’s nearly impossible for me to mask my symptoms, but that is not something I’m too concerned with. Autism is a part of my identity, and I would not be able to imagine life without it.

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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