Guest Interviews — 9 Minutes

Dr. Kerry Magro (Part 1)

Guest Interviews — 9 Minutes

Dr. Kerry Magro (Part 1)

Kerry Magro is an award winning national speaker and best-selling author. Kerry has become a rolemodel in the disabled community. Non-verbal at 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4, Kerry has overcame countless obstacles to get to where he is today.In May of 2019, Kerry received his doctorate in Educational Technology Leadership from New Jersey City University to become Dr. Kerry Magro. He currently is CEO and Founder of KFM Making a Difference, a non-profit corporation focused on disability advocacy and housing.

Today Kerry travels the country sharing his story and telling our society to define their lives and their dreams in the best way they can. Of his highlights include publishing 2 best-selling books (Defining Autism From The Heart and Autism and Falling in Love) and working on the 2012 Motion Picture Joyful Noise. Kerry currently resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Would you like to support or connect with Kerry? Check out the links below!
Merchandise:
Amazon Affiliate Link:
Facebook Supporter Group where you can get support and give some support too – Kerry’s Autism Village
Social Media:
– Facebook: Kerry’s Autism Journey
– Twitter: @kerrymagro
– Instagram:  @kerrymagro
Send virtual tips and keep supporting Kerry’s work via PayPal at paypal.me/KerryMagro

Dr. Gwynette: We started this program about two and a half years ago, and we knew that there was a need for good information about autism. I work at a medical university called Medical University of South Carolina. I’m a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and adult psychiatrist. And I specialize in autism. And we have all these patients that we’ve worked with for years. Some of the wonderful people you’re going to meet with today. It falls in right with your talk, your TED Talk. These kids with autism grow up, and we saw needs for not only social skills, but also vocational skills.

Dr. Gwynette: We knew we wanted to raise autism awareness and hopefully get some quality information out there about autism, whether it’s medical or also what we feel is the gold is the firsthand experience. So we thought, well if there is going to be an Autism News Network, wouldn’t it be great if the people writing, producing, and directing the content are adults with autism. And so that’s who we are. Ainsley do you want to start and just wave hi?

Ainsley: Hi I’m Ainsley, and I’m [inaudible 00:01:06] as you know.

Dr. Gwynette: Dr. Eblin is here,

Dr. Eblin: Hi, I’m Amanda Eblin. I’m one of the psychiatric nurse practitioners that works with Dr. Gomez [inaudible 00:01:16] Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then we’ll go over to Patrick in the green shirt.

Patrick: Hi, I’m Patrick. I’m on of the video editors [inaudible 00:01:26]

Dr. Gwynette: Awesome. Cool, and then we’ll go down to David.

David: Hey, my name is David.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then Lee, why don’t you say hello?

Lee: Hi, my name is Lee.

Dr. Gwynette: And then we’re going to go over to one of our volunteers, Mark Mendell.

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark. I’m one of the volunteers.

Dr. Gwynette: And then we’ll go to Jennifer.

Jennifer: Hello,

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, and we’ll drop down to a young lady that we know as the drama queen, but her official name is Kristina.

Kristina: Hi

Dr. Gwynette: Kristina is a very talented interviewer, editor. We’ve got a lot of talent in the room today. And our next talented participant is Chris.

Chris: Hey, I’m Chris.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Hey Chris.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then the man they call the godfather of The Autism News Network.

Scott: Hey

Dr. Gwynette: And also known as Scott. And then Erin Hopper is here. She’s a volunteer.

Erin: Erin.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then our newest member, Kyle.

Kyle: Hello Dr. Magro.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Hey Kyle.

Dr. Gwynette: And then Miles. Right here we go. Hello and welcome to the autism news network. You’re here today with a very special guest, Dr Kerry Magro, who is a bestselling author. He is an amazing worldwide social advocate. You may have seen his TED Talk, which is available on YouTube about what happens to children with autism when they grow up to become adults. It’s 17 minutes of some of the best education you will ever have, to see that video. He also advises Hollywood studios about how to make authentic characters with autism, to be sure that those are portrayed in a fair and accurate manner. He’s just basically an incredible advocate for the autism community. So everyone please join me with a round of applause for our guest Dr. Kerry Magro.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Thank you all so much for having me. I really appreciate being here today.

Dr. Gwynette: So thank you everyone for joining us. Without further ado, we are going to roll into our questions, which have been authored by our Autism News Network participants. Our first question is from Chris. Chris take it away.

Chris: All right. You didn’t speak until the age of two and a half years. What got you where you are today?

Dr. Kerry Magro: Awesome question Chris. So one of the big red flags my parents saw was the fact that I was completely non-verbal until I was two and a half. I didn’t say my first word juice until I was about three, and didn’t start speaking complete sentences, till I was seven. Some of the things that helped me tremendously growing up were, occupational, physical speech, music, and theater therapy. Those were the five therapies that really helped me get to the point where I am today. And my parents really realized that they need to meet me where I was in my development. I think that’s so important because autism is such a wide spectrum. So my parents did their homework and they found those therapies to help me tremendously and without their love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Dr. Gwynette: The next question comes from Lee. It’s kind of a followup to our first question.

Lee: What kind of help did you have growing up with autism?

Dr. Kerry Magro: You know, it was definitely a lot of therapy, a lot of supports. It was also had having my teachers really trying to meet me where I was. A lot of people think of autism as one size fits all, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So my teachers.. Specifically I remember my first grade teacher was just a tremendous resource for me, because she really realized that I was so much more than just my challenges. I also had some tremendous strengths and I think strength-based learning was something that really took off when I was very very young. And it was something that really helped me. I didn’t know I had autism at all until it’s like 11 and a half. But once I learned I had autism, it was life changing. From all the years of kind of not knowing why I had my strengths and challenges and everything becoming full circle right after that.

Dr. Gwynette: Our next question comes from Patrick,

Patrick: Who inspired you as a child.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Who inspired me as a child? I think again it goes back to my mom and dad. Seeing them working so hard to help me with my therapies as a kid gave me the self motivation understanding that they were working so hard to help me that I should try to have that same self motivation for myself. And I wasn’t a really motivated kid growing up. But once I learned I had autism and I realized how much my parents were doing things such as my IEP meetings to give me the most support possible, made me realize that if they could have so much motivation to try and help me, I should try to have that same motivation, try to help myself.

Dr. Gwynette: Our next question is going to come from Kristina.

Kristina: How did your family cope with chances growing up?

Dr. Kerry Magro: My parents didn’t know anyone who is on the autism spectrum. So growing up, they would watch movies like Rain Man, and they unfortunately would get like stereotypical. They would think all people with autism are boys. All of them had photogenic memories and all of them would go to Las Vegas when they turn 21, when you allow money on the blackjack tables. I think one of the things that my parents did to really help me with my challenges growing up was reward systems. I think that was really really key. We had token systems, which you can find online, which help so many kids on the autism spectrum. And that really helped me with a lot of my challenges. Once they saw desired behaviors, they reinforced that with reward systems to really help me when I was a kid. So I think that was one of the things that really, they tried to help me with.

Kristina: That’s cool.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Our next question is from Ainsley.

Ainsley: Did you experience any bullying growing up.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Oh yes, all the time. I would befriend bullies because it was really hard for me to make friendships growing up. I didn’t understand sarcasm, I didn’t understand jokes. So the lot of the times when I was growing up, I would befriend bullies because even though they were giving me negative attention, it was some form of attention. And I think this is one of the biggest challenges I see in the schools today. Those with autism and special needs are twice as likely to be bullied compared to their non-disabled peers. And it’s one of the biggest crisises in our school systems today, along with cyber bullying. I know some big one, and it personally affected me. It affected me almost going into college. I think that’s a big reason why when we talk about autism awareness, we need to talk about autism acceptance because at the end of the day, all of us want to be accepted for exactly who we are and our unique strengths and gifts that we provide to the world.

Dr. Gwynette: We started this program about two and a half years ago, and we knew that there was a need for good information about autism. I work at a medical university called Medical University of South Carolina. I’m a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and adult psychiatrist. And I specialize in autism. And we have all these patients that we’ve worked with for years. Some of the wonderful people you’re going to meet with today. It falls in right with your talk, your TED Talk. These kids with autism grow up, and we saw needs for not only social skills, but also vocational skills.

Dr. Gwynette: We knew we wanted to raise autism awareness and hopefully get some quality information out there about autism, whether it’s medical or also what we feel is the gold is the firsthand experience. So we thought, well if there is going to be an Autism News Network, wouldn’t it be great if the people writing, producing, and directing the content are adults with autism. And so that’s who we are. Ainsley do you want to start and just wave hi?

Ainsley: Hi I’m Ainsley, and I’m [inaudible 00:01:06] as you know.

Dr. Gwynette: Dr. Eblin is here,

Dr. Eblin: Hi, I’m Amanda Eblin. I’m one of the psychiatric nurse practitioners that works with Dr. Gomez [inaudible 00:01:16] Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then we’ll go over to Patrick in the green shirt.

Patrick: Hi, I’m Patrick. I’m on of the video editors [inaudible 00:01:26]

Dr. Gwynette: Awesome. Cool, and then we’ll go down to David.

David: Hey, my name is David.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then Lee, why don’t you say hello?

Lee: Hi, my name is Lee.

Dr. Gwynette: And then we’re going to go over to one of our volunteers, Mark Mendell.

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark. I’m one of the volunteers.

Dr. Gwynette: And then we’ll go to Jennifer.

Jennifer: Hello,

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, and we’ll drop down to a young lady that we know as the drama queen, but her official name is Kristina.

Kristina: Hi

Dr. Gwynette: Kristina is a very talented interviewer, editor. We’ve got a lot of talent in the room today. And our next talented participant is Chris.

Chris: Hey, I’m Chris.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Hey Chris.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then the man they call the godfather of The Autism News Network.

Scott: Hey

Dr. Gwynette: And also known as Scott. And then Erin Hopper is here. She’s a volunteer.

Erin: Erin.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. And then our newest member, Kyle.

Kyle: Hello Dr. Magro.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Hey Kyle.

Dr. Gwynette: And then Miles. Right here we go. Hello and welcome to the autism news network. You’re here today with a very special guest, Dr Kerry Magro, who is a bestselling author. He is an amazing worldwide social advocate. You may have seen his TED Talk, which is available on YouTube about what happens to children with autism when they grow up to become adults. It’s 17 minutes of some of the best education you will ever have, to see that video. He also advises Hollywood studios about how to make authentic characters with autism, to be sure that those are portrayed in a fair and accurate manner. He’s just basically an incredible advocate for the autism community. So everyone please join me with a round of applause for our guest Dr. Kerry Magro.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Thank you all so much for having me. I really appreciate being here today.

Dr. Gwynette: So thank you everyone for joining us. Without further ado, we are going to roll into our questions, which have been authored by our Autism News Network participants. Our first question is from Chris. Chris take it away.

Chris: All right. You didn’t speak until the age of two and a half years. What got you where you are today?

Dr. Kerry Magro: Awesome question Chris. So one of the big red flags my parents saw was the fact that I was completely non-verbal until I was two and a half. I didn’t say my first word juice until I was about three, and didn’t start speaking complete sentences, till I was seven. Some of the things that helped me tremendously growing up were, occupational, physical speech, music, and theater therapy. Those were the five therapies that really helped me get to the point where I am today. And my parents really realized that they need to meet me where I was in my development. I think that’s so important because autism is such a wide spectrum. So my parents did their homework and they found those therapies to help me tremendously and without their love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Dr. Gwynette: The next question comes from Lee. It’s kind of a followup to our first question.

Lee: What kind of help did you have growing up with autism?

Dr. Kerry Magro: You know, it was definitely a lot of therapy, a lot of supports. It was also had having my teachers really trying to meet me where I was. A lot of people think of autism as one size fits all, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So my teachers.. Specifically I remember my first grade teacher was just a tremendous resource for me, because she really realized that I was so much more than just my challenges. I also had some tremendous strengths and I think strength-based learning was something that really took off when I was very very young. And it was something that really helped me. I didn’t know I had autism at all until it’s like 11 and a half. But once I learned I had autism, it was life changing. From all the years of kind of not knowing why I had my strengths and challenges and everything becoming full circle right after that.

Dr. Gwynette: Our next question comes from Patrick,

Patrick: Who inspired you as a child.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Who inspired me as a child? I think again it goes back to my mom and dad. Seeing them working so hard to help me with my therapies as a kid gave me the self motivation understanding that they were working so hard to help me that I should try to have that same self motivation for myself. And I wasn’t a really motivated kid growing up. But once I learned I had autism and I realized how much my parents were doing things such as my IEP meetings to give me the most support possible, made me realize that if they could have so much motivation to try and help me, I should try to have that same motivation, try to help myself.

Dr. Gwynette: Our next question is going to come from Kristina.

Kristina: How did your family cope with chances growing up?

Dr. Kerry Magro: My parents didn’t know anyone who is on the autism spectrum. So growing up, they would watch movies like Rain Man, and they unfortunately would get like stereotypical. They would think all people with autism are boys. All of them had photogenic memories and all of them would go to Las Vegas when they turn 21, when you allow money on the blackjack tables. I think one of the things that my parents did to really help me with my challenges growing up was reward systems. I think that was really really key. We had token systems, which you can find online, which help so many kids on the autism spectrum. And that really helped me with a lot of my challenges. Once they saw desired behaviors, they reinforced that with reward systems to really help me when I was a kid. So I think that was one of the things that really, they tried to help me with.

Kristina: That’s cool.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Our next question is from Ainsley.

Ainsley: Did you experience any bullying growing up.

Dr. Kerry Magro: Oh yes, all the time. I would befriend bullies because it was really hard for me to make friendships growing up. I didn’t understand sarcasm, I didn’t understand jokes. So the lot of the times when I was growing up, I would befriend bullies because even though they were giving me negative attention, it was some form of attention. And I think this is one of the biggest challenges I see in the schools today. Those with autism and special needs are twice as likely to be bullied compared to their non-disabled peers. And it’s one of the biggest crisises in our school systems today, along with cyber bullying. I know some big one, and it personally affected me. It affected me almost going into college. I think that’s a big reason why when we talk about autism awareness, we need to talk about autism acceptance because at the end of the day, all of us want to be accepted for exactly who we are and our unique strengths and gifts that we provide to the world.

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