College taught me many things: How to self-advocate, how to spread awareness and maybe, most importantly, that if you have a passion for something, you need to go for it no matter the costs.
At the same time, college also unfortunately taught me there are still a great deal of ignorant people out there who simply think of the black and white and avoid the grey completely.
One problem I see as a huge indicator of this is the whole concept of “outgrowing” your autism. When I was first diagnosed, my psychiatrist told my parents that autism was a lifelong diagnosis, while at the same time, other doctors told them there was a possibility that certain individuals would outgrow the symptoms that led to the diagnosis.
I think the whole belief of this puts negative annotations towards our community. Saying someone has “outgrown their autism” means someone can be inclined to say someone was “cured” of something naturally and diminishes the need for legislation reform and funding.
In either case, I think we need to avoid those debates as they just cause clutter overall. I feel more and more that I fall in the ever-growing “grey” section of people. Sure, I graduated from college and am in graduate school, but I’ve had two decades of multiple therapies and learned over time to take care and progress within myself. I’m also clearly not the typical “normal” that some people look for. I have eccentric tendencies that make me unique.
There is a spectrum. If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met just that — one person with autism. Some people will be able to become stronger in areas, but I’ve never believed in the concept that someone can ever outgrow an autism diagnosis.
Today, people see me and say, “You have autism? I would have ever known.” Growing up, my disability was evident due to my lack of speech. I’m one of the many unique stories of people on the autism spectrum as an adult today because even though I didn’t have speech, I now give talks around the country as a motivational speaker.
Each story of someone with autism is going to be unique, and you can honestly say that for anyone out there — disability or not.
This post first appeared on KerryMagro.com.
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