PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– A nationally recognized disability advocate was the keynote speaker at a conference on autism, at LaSalle University Tuesday, and the theme focused on the critical area of transition to adulthood.
Diagnosed with autism at four years old, the now 28-year-old Kerry Magro mentors people with autism and special needs from ages 5 to 56.
“Growing up I had no role models to look up to who are on the autism spectrum,” said Margo. “So, I decided to make most of my talks on the transition to adulthood, for those who have autism.”
Modest as he is, Magro is now that guy, signing autographs after his presentation, he is a best-selling author of 3 books and a movie consultant on 2 films. He’s had nearly 700 speaking engagements about his journey.
Magro says it’s often a “crapshoot” for 18-year-olds with autism to find a job, post-secondary education or housing opportunities to live independently.
“The big thing is that these kids age out of school,” he said.
Conference co-chair Dr. Carole Patrylo, a LaSalle professor, says positive attitudes go a long way.
“Always, always look at their strengths,” said Patrylo. “Why do we look at weaknesses. I don’t like that word.”
Magro says people with autism have dreams like anyone else.