An Autism Poem: Only If You Knew Me

If you knew me…

You would know I was nonverbal at 2 and a half

kerry fireman 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.

Live Mighty. Like us on Facebook.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


‘What’s Wrong With His Legs?’ A Special Needs Mom Public Service Announcement

It’s hard out here in these parent-of-a-child-with-special-needs streets. People have no common sense or just don’t know no betta. That’s where my public service announcement comes in. I figure it can’t hurt to educate folk as to what the experience is like on the backend of some of their ignorant (meant in the truest form of the word) comments. [...]

A Message to the Good-Intentioned People Who Pray for Me to be ‘Healed’

I’ve consciously identified as a Christian since my early teens and simply put, this means accepting that I am imperfect in my humanity and doing my best to show tolerance and love to everyone I meet, as Jesus did (including those who don’t share my beliefs). As I’ve used a wheelchair pretty much since birth, my disability has [...]

Dear Shopper Staring at My Child Having a Meltdown in the Grocery Store

Dear Shopper, Yes, I know. I’m well aware that my child is screaming — not just a regular scream but an ear-piercing, sanity-shattering screech. Even if I wasn’t seeing and hearing it, I would know by the expression on your face. Clearly, you have raised your children better than me. That is what you were [...]

To Any Parent Nervous About Having a Baby With Down Syndrome, This Is for You

A group of families affected by Down syndrome found a beautiful way to put future parents at ease. Carolyn McDiarmid, 44, from Victoria, Australia, grew up across the street from the family of a little girl with Down syndrome. She later had a close friend in nursing school in Melbourne who had a child, named Harvey, [...]