My 4 Words for the People Who Doubted Me Because of My Autism

I wrote this letter in 2011 the day after receiving my college degree. So many people told me it would never be done in my life, and I wanted to share it with the people at The Mighty to inspire hope that our kids are capable of amazing things. This one’s for you…

Yesterday was my graduation from Seton Hall University. Because this has been one of the most emotional and happiest days of my life, I’ve taken some time to reflect on my journey and get my thoughts down on paper. Many people told me my road toward a good education was going to be rough. The word “impossible” was a word I learned very early on in regards to people’s opinions about whether or not I could get to college, let alone graduate from college. Now I just have to say…

To the physician who told me when I was 6 that I would be lucky to get to high school, this one’s for you.

To the special education teachers who looked down at me like I was broken, this one’s for you.

For the years of being taunted and bullied by kids, saying I can’t and wouldn’t achieve greatness, this one’s for you.

To the people who helped me through physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy until I was 14, this one’s for you.

To my parents, friends and relatives who see me as an individual first who is/was never broken, this one’s for you.

To those teachers who said I could do it, this one’s for you.

To the countless other individuals out there who are autistic or love someone who is autistic, this one’s for you.

To the people who say you can’t do something even though you can, this one’s for you.

At the end of the day, the influences in our lives send us on our path, either good or bad. When I was 4, I was diagnosed on the spectrum. Now 18 years later I’m a college graduate who will be going to graduate school for a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership. For all those people, again, the good and the bad, thank you. You’ve made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This one’s for you.

A version of this post originally appeared on

Kerry contributed a chapter to a new book titled “College for Students with Disabilities: We Do Belong” where Kerry talks more about his pursuit of becoming a national speaker and getting through college with a learning disability. The book was authored by Stephen Shore and Pavan John Anthony with the forward written by Dr. Temple Grandin. You can learn more about the book here.

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