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