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Overcoming Obstacles: The Kerry Magro Story

Overcoming Obstacles: The Kerry Magro Story

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Overcoming Obstacles: The Kerry Magro Story

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  1. Overcoming Obstacles:The Kerry Magro Story 2nd Annual Midsouth Autism Conference 7/17/12

  2. I Have Autism

  3. Autism After 16: Writer/Columnist Autism Radio: Co-Host Autism Speaks: Social Media Consultant

  4. Motion Picture “Joyful Noise” starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Consultant/Screenwriter for character with Asperger Syndrome. Received a Credit at the end of the movie

  5. In addition.. • President & CEO of “KFM Making a Difference In The Community” • Professional Motivational Speaker and Life Coach • Soon to be Published Author • Youth Delegate for Department of Public Information

  6. My Autism My Voice A video blog dedicated towards giving self help tips to parents with children on the spectrum

  7. Pilot: My Story 100 People ‘Making a Difference’ for Autism Having Autism vs. Being Autistic

  8. Kerry’s Korner A video series focused on autism related topics ran through Autism Speaks.

  9. Highlighted Autism Speaks ‘Light It Up Blue’ Initiative for the month of April. Extended the video series till this day to focus on more related topics.

  10. My Diagnosis • Diagnosed with PDD-NOS when I was 4 • Diagnosed by- Hackensack Hospital Pediatric Department (took nine months) • Family knew very little about what autism even was • Doctor’s were not optimistic/encouraging • Made it very challenging early on…

  11. Being Diagnosed in ‘92 1990: 1 in 500 2000: 1 in 250 2004: 1 in 166 2009: 1 in 110 2012: 1 in 88 Note: Aspergers didn’t become a diagnosis through DSM until 1994 in the U.S

  12. Growing Up With Autism • Severe Sensory Issues (SID) • Cognitive, Motor and Speech Delays, • Nonverbal till I was 2.5 • Twirling • Difficulty with Transitions • Kicked out of 2 Pre-Schools because they, “Didn’t know how to control me”

  13. At 5 Years Old… • Emotional struggles became a constant struggle • Went to be Re-diagnosed • Margaret Hertzig M.D, Director of Pediatric Psychiatry at Cornell Medical Hospital ( Confirmed PDD-NOS ) • Future was uncertain but different outcome • Focus on present not the future • She recommended a theurprtic nursery school • Huge changing point in my life

  14. The Challenges of Grammar School (Public School) • Public School in a Multi-Handicapped Classroom for first 4 years of Grade School • Received PT, OT and Speech Therapy • Several Difficult Transitions • 2nd Grade- Switched Schools due to Therapists scared of where school was • 3rd/4th Grade- Switched Schools due to Phenomenal Special Education Teacher, ended up taking maternity leave first week of school • Mainstreamed in Math

  15. The Challenges of Grammar School (Public School) • Struggled with acceptance. Constantly was bullied through the “Special Ed” Label • Focused on helping with what you “couldn’t do” and not what you “could do” • Teaching Through The: “Deficit Model” • Adaptabilityand Friendships • Hard to relate to others • Was a minority in most of the school systems (Majority Hispanic/Spanish/Black)

  16. The Transition to Middle School and High School (Private School) • From 5th to 8th grade transitioned to school for students with Learning Disabilities called Community Lower School • Out of district, only 160 students • Reward System for Performance • PT Embedded into Physical Education Course • High School went to the joint program they had (Community High School) • Laptops for all their students • SAT Struggles • Graduating and realizing my dream of going to College was finally a reality

  17. Basketball Made me understand how I could take my main focuses to build on my weaknesses

  18. Music/Theater Been doing theater since I was 6, helped with my overall social/speech development

  19. Autism Society of America Were the ones who gave me my ‘voice’ towards my Advocacy efforts

  20. College with Autism • Got accepted into Seton Hall University in 2007 (Did not get rejected by any school!) • Challenges: Living In The Dorms, Reasonable Accommodations, Time Management, Friendships/Relationships, Subjecting Myself to Change, Adapting to Knowing No One, Dealing with Disability Support Group, Etc. • In 2008 became one of the only Autistic RA’s in New Jersey

  21. Student Disability Awareness Started first organization on campus for disability related awareness/needs. Mission was to help eliminate barriers and spread awareness for all disabilities

  22. Autism Speaks Have helped me realize my overall potential towards “Making a Difference” for the autism community

  23. Graduating College Interest in Communication Field Built public speaking skills Speaking at different venues Decided to go to Graduate School to get a Masters in Strategic Communication and Leadership Hope to continue building on my speaking and advocacy efforts to help the future “Kerry Magro’sout there!

  24. 20 Years Later: How I got here • An Amazing Support System • Early Intervention/Great Supports • Embracing “Disability” and turning it into an “A-Bility” • Being able to fall in love -> Turning it into a focus • “Making a Difference”

  25. Laura Shumaker Alex Plank Scotty Holman Temple Grandin John Elder Robison MyAutism Inspirations

  26. The Autistic Adult Today • Over 1.5 Million Americans have Autism • Over 500,000 new adults with autism within the next decade • Areas of Concern • Employment • Insurance/Legislation • Housing • Supports • Self-Advocacy

  27. Rest of The Autism “Spectrum” • Need Autism Reform in all 50 States! • Only in 31 States! Contact your local congress person! • • Staying away from the ‘Deficit Model’ • Popular image of autism today revolves around Children • Keep a positive outlook towards our community, avoid agendas!

  28. In Conclusion.. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

  29. Contact Information • Website • • Blogs • • Other Media Outlets • Facebook: • Twitter:!/Kerrymagro or @kerrymagro • Linkedin: • Youtube: • Email: