Here are just a few of the kudos Benjamin has received for his autism advocacy work. To see a short demo-video of Benjamin’s presentation, go to our YouTube channel, Benjamin Breaking Barriers.
From Ross Sutter, Assistant Principal, Fairview High School: Benjamin has a heart of gold and a personality that is unforgettable…he has audiences in the palm of his hand…
From Perry Conway, creator & producer of educational Aerie Nature Series: This young man could become a national spokesperson and inspiration for the thousands of young people who work so hard at overcoming autism.
From Dr. Joseph Berta, Professor of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder: 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.
From Madisen Haner, psychology student at University of Colorado, 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.
From Anna Stewart, BVSD parent liaison and Special Education Advisory Council coordinator: I’ve known Benjamin and his mom for nearly a decade and have witnessed Benjamin’s growth from a boy highly impacted by autism to a young man engaged with others and with many interests and passions. I remember watching him in elementary-school plays where I could see the beginnings of the dynamic actor he has now become, along with being a loving, kind and thoughtful person. Benjamin brings diligence, humor and honesty to his roles in the theater and to his powerful presentation about living with autism. I am honored to know Benjamin and his family and I know that his future will be authentically Benjamin.
From Peg Brown-Clark, M.Ed., Assistant Commissioner, Exceptional Student Services Unit, C.O. Dept. of Ed.: It is an honor for me to recommend Benjamin Tarasewicz for the “Yes I Can” award. Benjamin has achieved so much in his young life. His hard work to overcome the communication aspects of having autism has paid off for him. He delivered a very touching presentation to a staff of sixty-five (at the Colorado Department of Education in Denver) and did so with poise and humor. He continues to tell his personal story to people across Colorado to help break down barriers and give people a better understanding of what it means to live with autism. He would represent the “Yes I Can” award well.