From Malva: From my perspective, Benjamin is “opening doors”, showing what might be possible for others. As we’d hoped when creating his autism presentation, he is becoming an inspiring role-model and leader to his peers.
This past Tuesday, Benjamin presented to a wonderfully receptive and attentive group of students in the Monarch High School auditorium. At the end of the assembly period, we introduced a special guest who is starting up an advocacy class for interested students in BVSD (Boulder Valley School District). Following Benjamin’s example, each student attending this class will learn how to become an advocate for their own “differences” through creating a mini-presentation. The kids will learn to use power-point technology in order to support their personal message and will have opportunities to practice their speaking and presenting skills. I’m thrilled about this new impulse to celebrate the neuro-diversity that exists among us! I’m also hopeful that these students will experience the positive personal growth that can come from speaking up.
In the short time since Benjamin has begun giving his autism presentations, I’ve watched him become increasingly confident and happy within himself—the act of presenting is strengthening Benjamin’s self-identity and is allowing him to blossom as he follows his passion for performing. Aren’t we all happier and more satisfied when we’re engaged in something that we do well? In addition, the warm-hearted responses of his audiences is convincing Benjamin that his advocacy work is indeed making a difference in the world and that he is contributing something of inestimable value—through being genuinely himself and through sharing his gifts. I am greatly humbled by my awareness of the beautiful interplay between Benjamin and his listeners—there is a real flow, a give-and-take, and it’s a two-way street of sharing…
Happy after yet another presentation