Growing up on the autism spectrum, one of the most magical places in the world for me to visit was Disney. It didn’t matter if it was Disney World, Disneyland or simply popping in a VHS tape to watch one of the many Disney movies you had made available. Now as an adult who has become an international motivational speaker, I’ve traveled to your parks with younger children with disabilities, and I have to say I’m impressed with the magic that still remains to this day.
When I was nonverbal and had limited pretend play due to my autism diagnosis, my parents always encouraged me with Disney. That’s when my fascination with all things Disney began. After beginning to talk for the first time, one of the first songs I ever sang in front of an audience was the song ‘The Circle of Life,” from ‘The Lion King.’ After finding a passion for music from moments like this, I would pursue theatre therapy to help me progress with my communication.
As much as our autism community has moved forward to help provide supports to help our loved ones progress such as myself, I would love to help the future generations of kids with disabilities do the same. That’s why I would like your help. I know countless stories just like mine of those who have been positively impacted by Disney. For example, several of my mentees who have disabilities want to work at Disney one day. Today, I give talks to groups such as yours, PSEG, Wyndham Destination Network, American Express and others in the hopes of them learning about the benefits of hiring people on the spectrum. Then, we also give talks to provide a better understanding to organizations of some of the signs of autism and other disabilities so they can be more aware and accepting.
If you ever read this letter, I hope you may reach out to me one day in the hopes we can collaborate to host an event, whether it be a Lunch & Learn or any other type of special event to bring disabilities to the discussion from the perspective of someone who grew up with a disability.
You would be making a lifetime of difference by using your platform for this amazing community.
Kerry Magro is an international speaker on the autism spectrum. A version of his blog originally appeared here.