Autism Interview #36: Kerry Mango on Misconceptions, Mistakes, and Positive Autism Advocacy

Kerry Magro is an award-winning international motivational speaker who’s on the autism spectrum. Kerry’s books, Defining Autism From The Heart and Autism and Falling in Love after being released quickly reached an Amazon Best-Sellers list. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What misconceptions do people have about autism that you’ve encountered?

A giant misconception is that everyone with autism is good at math. Another misconception out there is that people can be cured of autism. Because I speak around the country, people often say I’ve been cured, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I have what many are calling now the ‘invisible disability.’

How did the close people in your life help you develop a positive autistic identity?

It started with my family providing me with positive reinforcement as a kid. It could be a hug, a sticker, a reward, etc. When I found out about having autism at 11.5, that trend continued and helped with my autistic identity.

What is the best way to make someone more aware of, more sensitive to, or more understanding of people on the spectrum?

It starts with getting to know people on the spectrum and asking them to speak in their local communities. Countless groups are starting ‘monologue events’ where people on the spectrum can share about their stories in an open forum to enlighten others.

What mistakes do autism advocates make?

This is a great question. One of the mistakes autism advocates often make is spending too much time worrying about what other autism organizations are doing vs. what they can do to help their mission. There is such a huge divide out there. As we ask for autism acceptance, we need to be more accepting of each other while trying to shape our missions to help one another.

Who is your best ally? Why?

My best allies are my mom and dad. They were two of my greatest advocates growing up and they helped shape me to become an international motivational speaker, best-selling author, non-profit founder and film consultant today. I will always be thankful for everything they’ve done for me. For example, in 5th grade every day they drove me 40 minutes to an out-of-district school for students with learning disabilities. Also, when I was diagnosed with autism at 4, they took me to every therapy session to support me all the way till I was 19. They truly made a difference for me and my life, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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