From Malva: You know how—when you drop something big into a pond—you get a deep, satisfying splash and then you start to see those concentric circles of water rippling outward, expanding, traveling, shifting the reflections on the pond into new patterns, making you rethink what you’re seeing? And then, you know how—if you go on to scatter an arc of pebbles into the water—each pebble makes its own splash and its own set of concentric and expanding circles? Then—and you’ve surely noticed this before—all those new circles start intersecting with the initial big-splash-circles, and also start meeting and intermingling with one another—creating a multitude of bright, twinkling ripples, stemming from a colorful company of pebbles, scattered on a pond.
I think that this lovely phenomenon of ripples on a pond is a great way to describe what is happening just now for Benjamin. Last week, when Benjamin gave his autism presentation at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he made a big, beautiful splash and since then, many of the people who attended that event have been splashing back—happy, sun-lit sparkles—making ripples of their own that clearly indicate that we are all in this together, wanting to change the flat aspect of that pond.
I’d like to share portions of two letters/emails we’ve received in the past week. The first passage is from a letter of recommendation written by Dr. Joe Berta, professor of psychology and faculty advisor for the Psi Chi Honors Psychology Club. The second is from a C.U. student who attended Benjamin’s presentation. Receiving such positive feedback is incredibly heart-warming and affirming—I am at a loss for words to express how meaningful these two people’s reactions have been to both Benjamin and me. Thank you…
Benjamin’s presentation was the best-attended event that Psi Chi has sponsored in the last ten years; all the seats in the 135-chair room were filled, people sat in the aisles, stood in the rear of the room, and poured out of the doors. Benjamin did not disappoint. He gave a primer on autism that was not only fact-based but also gave insight into what it is like to be autistic. He cogently answered any and all questions that the audience asked. Although most 17-year-olds would be extremely intimidated lecturing to an audience consisting mostly of college students, Benjamin showed no anxiety and left the students entranced. He has, for these students, become a powerful spokesperson for a compassionate perspective on autism. Benjamin’s effect on the students has not been short lived. Since his presentation, students in my classes have asked to discuss autism, and some students have talked to me one-on-one about Benjamin’s performance; one young woman spoke with me for an hour about her now-broadened view of the capabilities of people with autism. In sum, Benjamin is an amazing young man, a wonderful representative for autism and, I believe, ideally suited to receive the “Yes I Can” award. Sincerely, Dr. Joseph Berta
Hi there! My name is Madisen and I am a student at CU Boulder. I wanted to tell you how inspiring you and Benjamin are. Your hard work and dedication to your son is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It is INCREDIBLE! And Benjamin…there aren’t even words to describe how inspiring he is. I could not stop smiling during his entire presentation; I am just in awe of his talents. He is such a glowing person and his smile made everyone in the room happy! I just want you to know how much I really appreciate what you two are doing with his presentations. I think they are wonderful and he will go very far with this. I have always had a very special place in my heart for children with autism, and that is why I am dedicating my career to working with them. I want to see more kids like Benjamin! It takes love like yours to do that, and I hope that someday I will be able to help kids grow the way you have helped your son. I would LOVE to get a copy of your book as soon as I can! Thank you both so much. Sincerely, Madisen Haner (A new fan of Benjamin!)
Full house at CU presentation
Making ripples and relaxing…