I’m feeling over the moon with happiness! Finally, after months of waiting, the “Faces of Autism” Gala and Fundraiser (sponsored by the Autism Society of Colorado) happened, and I had a tremendous evening. I got to perform with my poi-swings to start off the program and the audience clapped and cheered repeatedly as I whirled my ribbons in beautiful and changing patterns to Celtic music. I loved getting such a wonderful response. Later on, there were short slide-shows with narration; each one focused on someone who’d been nominated for an award, and each of these was interesting and inspiring. There are a lot of wonderful people out there, doing excellent things to help people with autism. I feel grateful to be in such good company.
A little while after we’d all seen the slide-show that focused on me, I was called back up to the stage to receive my award and to give a short acceptance speech to the 225 guests that attended the gala. I want to share my speech here and to share my thankfulness. Knowing that I would be recognized as “Compassionate Youth of the Year” has given me such a sense of anticipation and happiness—these feelings have helped me a lot over the past four months.
My acceptance speech: I want to thank the Autism Society of Colorado for honoring me with this award, and I also want to thank Mr. S. for nominating me. Mr. S heard me giving my power-point presentation (Living With Autism & Breaking Through Barriers), and he said it really inspired him—hearing about my story and all the hard work it’s taken for me to overcome my autism. I’ve been feeling so happy about being recognized, and I’ve been telling all my friends about it. They know that I have high-functioning autism and they’re really supportive.
I love to talk and to be on stage, and now I’m educating people about autism. I’m helping them to become more understanding and compassionate. I’m also working to inspire college-age students. I’m hoping that some of them will become autism-specialists—so that they can help the many kids that are being diagnosed nowadays.
I know that my family and friends are proud of me—they’ve told me that I’m making a real difference in the world—and that makes me feel wonderful—it really warms my heart. And now I want to thank both of my parents for always being there for me, and an extra-big thank-you to my mom for being my main therapist and helper all these years.
I invite you all to pick up one of my flyers. I love giving my presentation and I love finding new audiences—if you know of a group that might like to have me speak for them, please pass on the information! I also have a website and a blog, and I’m on Facebook. You can always find me by looking up Benjamin Breaking Barriers. Thanks again, and enjoy your evening!
My mom and I at the Gala…
My award…it now sits on my desk at home.