Category Archives: TEDx

Lessons My Daughter With Autism Has Taught Me – TEDxDayton 2018

It’s live!

My October TEDx Dayton Talk, “Lessons My Daughter With Autism Has Taught Me” is now live on YouTube.

This presentation was probably the most difficult to prepare for of any I’ve done.  The process made me deeply search what I think, what I feel, and what I believe – not only about Amelia, but about education and all students.  I hope the result, and Amelia’s story, can serve as an inspiration to think deeper about learning and expectations.

TEDx Dayton 2018 – “Shift”

The 6th annual TEDx Dayton event has come and gone.  The theme for this year’s program was “Shift”.

Michael, speaking about his daughter, Amelia, on the TEDx Dayton stage.I was so honored to be included as a speaker for this year’s program. My talk was about lessons I have learned from my daughter, Amelia.  Amelia just turned 9 years old, and was diagnosed with Autism just before her third birthday.

I have told versions of this story in other formats – as a five-minute Ignite session at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference a few years ago, in an article that was published in a booklet called “Sharing Hope”, and as a brief keynote address to special education and school improvement consultants in Ohio.  But, the presentation was never as “polished” as it needed to be for TEDx Dayton.

The process of breaking my thoughts down to their bare essence, and then building back up to a connected and meaningful series of thoughts, was one of the hardest things I have ever done professionally.  I am deeply grateful for all of the support that the TEDx Dayton organizers offered me to help get my talk to that point – after all, it will soon be available on the Internet for the world to see. (Yikes!)

It takes several weeks for the recordings to be finalized and posted among the videos on the TEDx site.  But you can bet that once it is there, I’ll happily share Amelia’s story with anyone who would like to listen!



TEDx Dayton 2018 is coming!

Earlier this year, I submitted a TEDx Talk proposal for this year’s Dayton event.  Mine was one of nearly 200 proposals submitted.  I was very pleased to be chosen as one of about 50 to get to audition.  And now I have the honor of being chosen as one of the speakers at this year’s TEDx Dayton!

My talk is titled “Ten Things I Have Learned from Amelia.”  Amelia is my soon-to-be-nine-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with autism just before her third birthday.  This talk has been brewing in my mind for years, and I have already used it as the basis of a five-minute “Ignite” style talk, and it appears in the CCHMC booklet “Sharing Hope”, which is given to families of individuals who are beginning a plan of care at their Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.  While there have been many discussions over the last six years about what and how we might teach Amelia, I have found it to be much more powerful to pay attention to what and how she is trying to teach me about herself and the way she sees the world.

The organizers of TEDx Dayton have pushed me (and all of the other speakers), to make sure that we are able to give the best quality delivery we can of the best quality construction of our message that we can.  On Friday, October 12, Amelia’s will be one of several stories that are told that day, on the stage of the Victoria Theatre.

I have many, many people to thank for their contributions to Amelia’s development over the last nine years, and I won’t have time to thank them all on October 12.  But, my goal is to let Amelia, and all of her friends and family, and everyone out there who can identify with her, know just how amazing she is and how much we can all learn from one another if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons being taught.


TEDx Worthington on YouTube!

All nine of the TEDx Worthington talks are now available via the TEDx YouTube channel.

Here they are, in the original order of presentation:

  1. Steve Kucinski – “Resolve to Enjoy the Goodness and Beauty in Each Other and in Life”
  2. Tom Burton – “Finding Resolution: Questioning the Answers”
  3. Cheyenne Buckingham – “Why school lunches need to be resolved”
  4. Chris Hasebrook – “A Different Public School Model”
  5. Eric Genezda – “Prep Period”
  6. Anna Farrell – “Success? How our competitive culture affects our students”
  7. Michael Roush – “Five Rules of Design Thinking to Reach All Students”
  8. Trent Bowers – “Why Kids Need Co-curricular Activities”
  9. Cindy Foley – “The Benefits of Boredom”

This was an incredible experience for me.  From the discussions during and after the event, I feel comfortable in saying it was a similarly incredible experience for the other speakers as well.

Some day, I believe one of these will be TED’s featured “Talk of the Day”, and I can think of reasons why any of them might be featured one day on NPR’s “TED Radio Hour”.

And when it happens, every one of us who were part of TEDxWorthington will smile and cheer!

TEDx Worthington

What a day!

On Friday, February 26, I left my office at Wilmington College to drive to Thomas J. Worthington High School for a practice session for the inaugural TEDxWorthington.  A circle of red carpet is probably the most intimidating piece of fabric I’ve even seen.  Seeing that circle of carpet is probably when it finally sunk in for me that this was really going to happen.  I would stand on that circle of red carpet with the “TEDx” blocks behind me and deliver my best fifteen minutes.

I was one of nine speakers selected to speak on Saturday, February 27, 2016.  Our venue was the McConnell Arts Center, a magnificent space for such an event.

I knew two of the other speakers.  That is to say, I knew of them, thanks to connecting with them via Twitter as fellow Ohio educators.  Other than that, these were strangers to me.  But, we shared something important in common: a passion for education.  And that passion had led each of us to propose to be part of this event.

The event was scheduled for 1:00 – 5:00 PM, which seems like an awfully long time to sit and listen to people talk at you.  But, engaging talks, coupled with a 20-minute “intermission” after each set of 3 speakers, kept things fresh.  I took the stage a full 2½ hours after the event started, and the audience was not weary of the format.  TEDx Worthington lead organizer Jerry Obney told me on Friday before my practice session, “The audience will all be pulling for you.  They want you to do well.”  And he was right.

I took some very important lessons and observations away from each of the other eight talks.

Steve Kucinski – Don’t forget to feel.  And don’t wait until it’s too late to show that you care.

Tom Burton – “Know thyself.” Don’t be afraid to ask questions, of others and yourself.

Cheyenne Bunckingham – The problem of nutrition in education is a complex one, but that means we should focus on it all the more, rather than merely meeting minimums and leaving that as good enough.

Chris Hasebrook – Education can be different.  If we decided school doesn’t have to look like it did in the past, what sort of future could we create?

Anna Farrell – A student is a person, not a transcript.  And we’re all better when we choose to collaborate rather than compete.

Eric Gnezda – Like Rita Pierson said, “Every student needs a champion.”  Never underestimate the impact you can have on a student’s life, especially outside of the “prescribed curriculum.”

Trent Bowers – The life-lessons of co-curricular activities should never be underestimated.  Does every student have the opportunity to participate and learn those lessons?

Cindy Meyers Foley – Boredom does not have to be a bad thing. As a matter of fact, some of the most creative ideas the world has ever known came from people who were trying to find a way to eliminate being bored!

Re-watching the video of my talk was not something I wanted to do, but I thought I probably should. I have some irritating “nervous tendencies” when I speak.  I need to work on that.  And hopefully I will have plenty of opportunities to do so.

My biggest takeaway from this event is a reminder that everyone has a story that is worth telling.  And that means everyone has a story that is worth hearing.  I have so many opportunities to hear amazing stories every day, and it’s long past time I started making the time to listen to them.

TEDxWorthington Recordings

If you missed TEDxWorthington, the Livestream recordings provided by WOSU are still available.  The event was broken down into three sessions.

Michael delivering his TEDx Talk.Session 1: Steve Kucinski, Tom Burton, Cheyenne Buckingham

Session 2: Chris Hasebrook, Anna Farrell, Eric Gnezda

Session 3: Michael Roush, Trent Bowers, Cindy Meyers Foley

Visit the event archive on Livestream to access these videos.

(Note: no captioning is currently available on these videos.  I intend to produce a transcript of my own TEDx Talk that will hopefully be used to caption my video.  If not, I will make the transcript available via my blog.)