I have to give a panel speech about living with Autism. Help

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AspieSingleDad
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24 Apr 2018, 9:39 pm

Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
So, why doesn’t your daily routine vary much? Is that by choice? Do you an adverterous type? If not, why not? Do you have a ton of friends? If not, how come?

You’re not going to have a developmental disability like autism and not be impacted. Think about how you are impacted and also include how you aren’t impacted. I think these would be interesting things to discuss. What’s it like for you to be autistic. In fact, why don’t you write an essay in here.....

What is like to be Asperger96 as it relates to autism? Why don’t you tell US your unique story. You have something to say: what is it?


(Typed this up and lost it, had to retype)

I'm sorry I misspoke, I meant my routine does not really deviate from the typical college student. My problem is that most of the issues I still face as an adult are interpersonal and emotional issues, which are very difficult to articulate meaningfully.

I don't have alot of friends, none of them go to my college.


Do you think you have the courage to admit that? Can you describe those interpersonal/emotional issues when you talk? Do you want to?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to give you stuff to think about for when you talk.



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25 Apr 2018, 9:17 pm

AspieSingleDad wrote:
Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
So, why doesn’t your daily routine vary much? Is that by choice? Do you an adverterous type? If not, why not? Do you have a ton of friends? If not, how come?

You’re not going to have a developmental disability like autism and not be impacted. Think about how you are impacted and also include how you aren’t impacted. I think these would be interesting things to discuss. What’s it like for you to be autistic. In fact, why don’t you write an essay in here.....

What is like to be Asperger96 as it relates to autism? Why don’t you tell US your unique story. You have something to say: what is it?


(Typed this up and lost it, had to retype)

I'm sorry I misspoke, I meant my routine does not really deviate from the typical college student. My problem is that most of the issues I still face as an adult are interpersonal and emotional issues, which are very difficult to articulate meaningfully.

I don't have alot of friends, none of them go to my college.


Do you think you have the courage to admit that? Can you describe those interpersonal/emotional issues when you talk? Do you want to?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to give you stuff to think about for when you talk.


Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I really appreciate it. I suppose I can talk about the issues I have communicating with people at school. A lot of the issues I have seem to revolve around verbal and non-verbal communication. Like, to me group conversations are like navigating traffic. It seems way too difficult to establish a meaningful connection with most people I meet, and I find many crowded areas so overwhelming that I get dizzy



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26 Apr 2018, 1:15 am

That sounds like a good idea. I am similar- I tend to hide behind a polite and formal persona. Social activity is my biggest challenge, followed by over-thinking and getting stuck on certain ideas.

I recently had an epiphany while watching the show Stranger Things. It was the moment when the two young boys saw the girl they liked and wanted to ask her to do something with them. That moment of social awkwardness, not knowing what to say, feeling very nervous and all that- that is me with every conversation that's not my immediate family. That's me every time I have to talk to someone at work or make a phone call. That's me every time I want to talk about something personal, even to my immediate family and my husband. That's me every time I want to explain about my autism.

I think it is a good comparison that will help NTs understand.


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AspieSingleDad
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26 Apr 2018, 10:26 am

Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
So, why doesn’t your daily routine vary much? Is that by choice? Do you an adverterous type? If not, why not? Do you have a ton of friends? If not, how come?

You’re not going to have a developmental disability like autism and not be impacted. Think about how you are impacted and also include how you aren’t impacted. I think these would be interesting things to discuss. What’s it like for you to be autistic. In fact, why don’t you write an essay in here.....

What is like to be Asperger96 as it relates to autism? Why don’t you tell US your unique story. You have something to say: what is it?


(Typed this up and lost it, had to retype)

I'm sorry I misspoke, I meant my routine does not really deviate from the typical college student. My problem is that most of the issues I still face as an adult are interpersonal and emotional issues, which are very difficult to articulate meaningfully.

I don't have alot of friends, none of them go to my college.


Do you think you have the courage to admit that? Can you describe those interpersonal/emotional issues when you talk? Do you want to?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to give you stuff to think about for when you talk.


Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I really appreciate it. I suppose I can talk about the issues I have communicating with people at school. A lot of the issues I have seem to revolve around verbal and non-verbal communication. Like, to me group conversations are like navigating traffic. It seems way too difficult to establish a meaningful connection with most people I meet, and I find many crowded areas so overwhelming that I get dizzy


Sounds like a good start. Do you think you can fill the time with just that topic? Do you have a real world experience that occurred that highlights those difficulties for you?



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26 Apr 2018, 2:37 pm

AspieSingleDad wrote:
Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
Asperger96 wrote:
AspieSingleDad wrote:
So, why doesn’t your daily routine vary much? Is that by choice? Do you an adverterous type? If not, why not? Do you have a ton of friends? If not, how come?

You’re not going to have a developmental disability like autism and not be impacted. Think about how you are impacted and also include how you aren’t impacted. I think these would be interesting things to discuss. What’s it like for you to be autistic. In fact, why don’t you write an essay in here.....

What is like to be Asperger96 as it relates to autism? Why don’t you tell US your unique story. You have something to say: what is it?


(Typed this up and lost it, had to retype)

I'm sorry I misspoke, I meant my routine does not really deviate from the typical college student. My problem is that most of the issues I still face as an adult are interpersonal and emotional issues, which are very difficult to articulate meaningfully.

I don't have alot of friends, none of them go to my college.


Do you think you have the courage to admit that? Can you describe those interpersonal/emotional issues when you talk? Do you want to?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to give you stuff to think about for when you talk.


Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I really appreciate it. I suppose I can talk about the issues I have communicating with people at school. A lot of the issues I have seem to revolve around verbal and non-verbal communication. Like, to me group conversations are like navigating traffic. It seems way too difficult to establish a meaningful connection with most people I meet, and I find many crowded areas so overwhelming that I get dizzy


Sounds like a good start. Do you think you can fill the time with just that topic? Do you have a real world experience that occurred that highlights those difficulties for you?


Well, everyone else on the panel is presenting as a story, but I don't really have one coherent story that can highlight my difficulties. I can try to fill time, but I don't know if I can just ramble about that for 15 whole minutes



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26 Apr 2018, 3:20 pm

It doesn't have to be one story. Ok, so I'm considering advocacy for autism and as a part of my presentation, here's my closing story (as an example). And here's the way I'd tell it to my audience:

<I'd like to close by telling you a story that is in four parts. This'll be brief, but it's the best description of autism I can give you. At least it's the best description of myself as an autistic that I can give to you, because each autistic is unique, with a different personality.

During my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was quite possibly the least popular kid in my high school. I was made fun of on a daily basis, multiple times per day. I can remember being made fun of particularly in home economics, a course I took because I thought it would require the least amount of work to get an A in. I was right, but I didn't anticipate other like-minded kids also taking that course, but having a meaner edge to them.

One particular kid stood out because he made fun of me by saying, "Pigs in Spaaaace" (a reference to a muppets show). It was actually pretty lame as insults go, but it stood out because it was actually a pretty astute assessment of me and the closest anybody came to a diagnosis at the time. I'd never say a word to that kid, and sometimes go through an entire day of high school without saying a word. I made every effort to be as unnoticeable as possible. If I could have been invisible, I'd have done so.

After my sophomore year ended, I had just about enough of the insults. I also happened to be growing significantly and got up to a solid 6 feet tall and weighed about 240 lbs. So I spent all of my summer going to a gym seven days per week, and I'd spend 5 hours per day there. I didn't miss even one day. In fact, in order to get to the gym I'd have to navigate a pretty steep hill that went on for about 2.5 miles one way. It was easy coming down to the gym, but I'd have to climb up this hill to get home after I spent 5 hours in the gym. I converted myself into a 215 lb tank within 3.5 months, and I was ready to go back to high school.

On my first day of school I didn't even get to my first class before I was made fun of. I was in "home room" where they take attendance. When we got out of homeroom, I went up to the kid who made fun of me, and threw him against the locker. He hit the locker so hard he fell to the ground and looked up at me with intense fear (he was exceptionally nice to me after that).

However, my first real fight was with the "pigs in space kid". That year he was taking the same bus as me, and making fun of me continually to and from school. So perhaps a month into the school year, I walked up to him at the beginning of the school day. I remember him saying in a tough voice, "What do YOU want!" I proceeded to deck him in the face with everything I had and then grabbed his hair and threw him to the ground and began to kick him. One of the senior students (who was known for fighting himself) grabbed me from behind in an arm lock. I proceeded to have, what I didn't recognize then, as an autistic meltdown. While I was being held by the senior, the kid I attacked punched me weakly (his face was bleeding profusely).

I began to scream, "You punch like a girl! I'm going to get you!", and I began to try to get to him again while teachers began to pile in around me in an attempt to hold me back. With great effort, the senior and about six teachers were able to corral me and place me into the principal's office. Because if the great effort and due to inertia, when I went into the principal's office, I knocked down all of the stuff on his desk. To this day I feel bad because I broke the picture frames he had of his family on his desk.

The problem was, totaling the principal's office and getting into that fight got me pretty "popular" in school. I proceeded to get into six more fights that year, always with kids who were trying to challenge me or make fun of me. Now you'd think I'd make some real friends with all of that popularity. Yet I continued to have no real friends other than two girls I sat with at lunch (both seniors). One girl went to all special education classes and was a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident a couple of years prior. That was two strikes against her, and she was ignored by people in the school. The other girl had a lot of acne and apparently that was enough to send her to our table of misfits during lunch.

My ill-gotten popularity did bring about a positive event. I figured that, because I was so feared, and because I was so popular, I could get away with quite a bit. As a result, even though it was against the rules, I was the only junior high school student to attend the senior prom (and as far as I know the only one ever to attend in the history of that high school). This is because on the Friday before the senior prom I asked Janet, the girl in the wheelchair, to go to the senior prom with me.

She accepted, and I was able to get a special written permission from the principal to go to the senior prom. This was because they were so happy that Janet got a date to the prom, they made an exception for me. Somehow I was able to get all of the items required for the prom without an issue: a corsage, a classic tuxedo that was tailored for me, and all of the other stuff that goes along with it.

Somehow, despite my social skills, I was able to be a perfect gentle man and play my part at the prom perfectly. I pinned the corsage on Janet. I opened doors for her. We even danced quite a bit (she would rock her wheelchair back and forth on its wheels). And, I was right, I had enough "street cred" to pull of this venture to the senior prom, with other couples even joining us on the dance floor.

There was an odd part to this story though. I didn't really want to go to the prom. I wasn't getting much pleasure out of it either. It was an entertaining thing to do, but I didn't really know my motivation behind doing all of this. In other words, I wasn't going to the prom because I wanted to go to the prom. At the time, I wasn't sure why I did it. But I put on an act, and Janet didn't know, and that was fine with me.

It was only years later that I recognized the reason I took Janet. I took her because she was my friend. I didn't have many friends, so those friends I had, I was loyal to. I'd do just about anything I could to make their lives a little better if I could just think of what they needed.

The next year, when I was a senior, Janet and the other girl graduated high school and I was left to sit by myself in the lunch room. Nobody bothered me that year because I had proved my point the year prior, but they just ignored me. It didn't matter that I gained popularity/notoriety the year before, I simply couldn't make friends from a social standpoint. I just didn't know how.

Now here's the thing that we're often told. We're told to just make it through high school because things change when you get into the "grown up" world. All of the cliques no longer exist, and grown ups are mostly measured by their achievements and go on to have families of their own. But the thing is, most autistic people never leave high school. I've been in high school for 27 years now. Why do I say that? Because I still have no friends. Only difference is, I don't have to sit at a lunch table anymore.

Thanks so much for your patience in listening to me. Any questions from the audience?>

Sorry for typing a book, but that wouldn't take very long to convey to an audience. That's sort of my autism story, and as you can tell, it's not a specific story. It's designed to make the audience understand the struggles of autism in a way that they'll really understand. It shows some good and some bad. So now that you have my "autism story", you should think of yours. You have a story to tell. We all do.



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26 Apr 2018, 6:08 pm

Take notes on everything that happens to you over the next couple days. Write down how you feel about everything, how everything affects you, your anxiety, your sensory issues, anything that affects you write it down. Then you can organize it and talk about it. That is exactly what they are asking you to do. Talking about living with Autism. All you have to do is summarize your days on paper and tell them about that. Don't worry about what everyone else on the panel is doing. You need to just speak from your heart about how your life is and how everything in your life is affected by Autism. People will be moved when they hear your heart. They will get to know you. That is better than any story you can make up.


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27 Apr 2018, 6:35 pm

AspieSingleDad, great story, because I started to feel as I read it. I was admiring your perseverance at the gym, cheering you on in the fight, feeling a bit of your guilt for destroying the family photos.

Asperger96, good start with the road to diagnosis idea and the description of how you communicate at school. What do you wish could be different? Maybe answering that question might lead you to more of your feelings and a larger message.



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28 Apr 2018, 2:44 am

AspieSingleDad wrote:
It doesn't have to be one story. Ok, so I'm considering advocacy for autism and as a part of my presentation, here's my closing story (as an example). And here's the way I'd tell it to my audience:

<I'd like to close by telling you a story that is in four parts. This'll be brief, but it's the best description of autism I can give you. At least it's the best description of myself as an autistic that I can give to you, because each autistic is unique, with a different personality.

During my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was quite possibly the least popular kid in my high school. I was made fun of on a daily basis, multiple times per day. I can remember being made fun of particularly in home economics, a course I took because I thought it would require the least amount of work to get an A in. I was right, but I didn't anticipate other like-minded kids also taking that course, but having a meaner edge to them.

One particular kid stood out because he made fun of me by saying, "Pigs in Spaaaace" (a reference to a muppets show). It was actually pretty lame as insults go, but it stood out because it was actually a pretty astute assessment of me and the closest anybody came to a diagnosis at the time. I'd never say a word to that kid, and sometimes go through an entire day of high school without saying a word. I made every effort to be as unnoticeable as possible. If I could have been invisible, I'd have done so.

After my sophomore year ended, I had just about enough of the insults. I also happened to be growing significantly and got up to a solid 6 feet tall and weighed about 240 lbs. So I spent all of my summer going to a gym seven days per week, and I'd spend 5 hours per day there. I didn't miss even one day. In fact, in order to get to the gym I'd have to navigate a pretty steep hill that went on for about 2.5 miles one way. It was easy coming down to the gym, but I'd have to climb up this hill to get home after I spent 5 hours in the gym. I converted myself into a 215 lb tank within 3.5 months, and I was ready to go back to high school.

On my first day of school I didn't even get to my first class before I was made fun of. I was in "home room" where they take attendance. When we got out of homeroom, I went up to the kid who made fun of me, and threw him against the locker. He hit the locker so hard he fell to the ground and looked up at me with intense fear (he was exceptionally nice to me after that).

However, my first real fight was with the "pigs in space kid". That year he was taking the same bus as me, and making fun of me continually to and from school. So perhaps a month into the school year, I walked up to him at the beginning of the school day. I remember him saying in a tough voice, "What do YOU want!" I proceeded to deck him in the face with everything I had and then grabbed his hair and threw him to the ground and began to kick him. One of the senior students (who was known for fighting himself) grabbed me from behind in an arm lock. I proceeded to have, what I didn't recognize then, as an autistic meltdown. While I was being held by the senior, the kid I attacked punched me weakly (his face was bleeding profusely).

I began to scream, "You punch like a girl! I'm going to get you!", and I began to try to get to him again while teachers began to pile in around me in an attempt to hold me back. With great effort, the senior and about six teachers were able to corral me and place me into the principal's office. Because if the great effort and due to inertia, when I went into the principal's office, I knocked down all of the stuff on his desk. To this day I feel bad because I broke the picture frames he had of his family on his desk.

The problem was, totaling the principal's office and getting into that fight got me pretty "popular" in school. I proceeded to get into six more fights that year, always with kids who were trying to challenge me or make fun of me. Now you'd think I'd make some real friends with all of that popularity. Yet I continued to have no real friends other than two girls I sat with at lunch (both seniors). One girl went to all special education classes and was a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident a couple of years prior. That was two strikes against her, and she was ignored by people in the school. The other girl had a lot of acne and apparently that was enough to send her to our table of misfits during lunch.

My ill-gotten popularity did bring about a positive event. I figured that, because I was so feared, and because I was so popular, I could get away with quite a bit. As a result, even though it was against the rules, I was the only junior high school student to attend the senior prom (and as far as I know the only one ever to attend in the history of that high school). This is because on the Friday before the senior prom I asked Janet, the girl in the wheelchair, to go to the senior prom with me.

She accepted, and I was able to get a special written permission from the principal to go to the senior prom. This was because they were so happy that Janet got a date to the prom, they made an exception for me. Somehow I was able to get all of the items required for the prom without an issue: a corsage, a classic tuxedo that was tailored for me, and all of the other stuff that goes along with it.

Somehow, despite my social skills, I was able to be a perfect gentle man and play my part at the prom perfectly. I pinned the corsage on Janet. I opened doors for her. We even danced quite a bit (she would rock her wheelchair back and forth on its wheels). And, I was right, I had enough "street cred" to pull of this venture to the senior prom, with other couples even joining us on the dance floor.

There was an odd part to this story though. I didn't really want to go to the prom. I wasn't getting much pleasure out of it either. It was an entertaining thing to do, but I didn't really know my motivation behind doing all of this. In other words, I wasn't going to the prom because I wanted to go to the prom. At the time, I wasn't sure why I did it. But I put on an act, and Janet didn't know, and that was fine with me.

It was only years later that I recognized the reason I took Janet. I took her because she was my friend. I didn't have many friends, so those friends I had, I was loyal to. I'd do just about anything I could to make their lives a little better if I could just think of what they needed.

The next year, when I was a senior, Janet and the other girl graduated high school and I was left to sit by myself in the lunch room. Nobody bothered me that year because I had proved my point the year prior, but they just ignored me. It didn't matter that I gained popularity/notoriety the year before, I simply couldn't make friends from a social standpoint. I just didn't know how.

Now here's the thing that we're often told. We're told to just make it through high school because things change when you get into the "grown up" world. All of the cliques no longer exist, and grown ups are mostly measured by their achievements and go on to have families of their own. But the thing is, most autistic people never leave high school. I've been in high school for 27 years now. Why do I say that? Because I still have no friends. Only difference is, I don't have to sit at a lunch table anymore.

Thanks so much for your patience in listening to me. Any questions from the audience?>

Sorry for typing a book, but that wouldn't take very long to convey to an audience. That's sort of my autism story, and as you can tell, it's not a specific story. It's designed to make the audience understand the struggles of autism in a way that they'll really understand. It shows some good and some bad. So now that you have my "autism story", you should think of yours. You have a story to tell. We all do.


Thank you, this was all very helpful.



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28 Apr 2018, 4:15 am

Woody Allen was a script writer for years. He would read out his new jokes at meetings, and his co-writers would laugh and include them. Then, he tried stand-up comedy, and got no response until he developed a funny delivery. It is good to have some useful content, but a speech is primarily performance art. Play to any strengths you have in that area. The TED talks are good examples of specialists trying to communicate with a wide variation in success. Very often, laughter is the best wedge for promoting a new idea.



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30 Apr 2018, 11:14 am

Dear_one wrote:
Woody Allen was a script writer for years. He would read out his new jokes at meetings, and his co-writers would laugh and include them. Then, he tried stand-up comedy, and got no response until he developed a funny delivery. It is good to have some useful content, but a speech is primarily performance art. Play to any strengths you have in that area. The TED talks are good examples of specialists trying to communicate with a wide variation in success. Very often, laughter is the best wedge for promoting a new idea.


Thank you!



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01 May 2018, 10:28 pm

My speech went great!



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01 May 2018, 10:37 pm

Congratulations! I'm reminded of an anxious dad in an all-nerd family who went to watch a teenage son do a presentation to his whole school, with no idea what would happen. The kid did a ten-minute standup routine about being a nerd that had everyone laughing their heads off.



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02 May 2018, 1:21 am

Asperger96 wrote:
My speech went great!


Well done! What did you talk about in the end?


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