Jan 29, 2009

Speaking at a Conference Near You?

You know about two years ago, I got opportunities to speak on Asperger Syndrome at some conferences and meetings. About four different times. The smallest group was about ten adults, the largest group was closer to 150.

Leading up to each event, I would get all worked up, wondering why I had agreed to this. I would try to document every word I was going to say, but toss each script. In the end I had either some well documented notes or a few scraps of paper.

As I was sitting and waiting to go on, I could feel something in me switch on: like an engine warming up. Then I would step behind the podium, and that something would click, and as if out of nowhere I would have all this stuff to say.

In the last year or so, I've been speaking quite a bit at churches. Different topic. I started to document my presentation less. I've noticed that I work best with a broad outline on paper and then some good ideas in my head. The presentation, sermon, or speech begins to do itself in my head over and over in the days leading up to the event.

When I get up to speak, the sermon, presentation or speech sort of makes itself, and I sit and watch. It's always very visual. I can see and hear what I'm talking about.

I don't know if I'm that good of a public speaker, but it's a remarkable experience. I have noticed that audience reaction to my Asperger presentations is one of enlightenment and hope. That's really cool. Honestly, there's a lot of hope in this world, we just can't see it for what it is.

I'm not scheduled at any more Asperger conferences, but I'd be happy to speak at some more.

But, the point of this blog entry is that I'm wondering if there are other Aspies that have an intuitive ability. It could be music, speaking, drawing . . . something which just sort of gushes out from an unseen place. Maybe as parents of Aspies we can benefit our children, but gently encouraging and feeding that gift, even if the gift doesn't seem to fit our expectation of something with good career prospects.

When I was five, who would have thought that my talking too much could turn into a career, at best, or at least a side job. But as a 43 year old unemployed Technical Writer, I'm sitting here thinking that writing is not my strongest skill. Speaking to and motivating groups is. I don't know how to turn that into any kind of temporary income, but I'm wiser to keep it in mind.



  1. Hi - this is Sharon from facebook "Blazing The Aspie Trail." I have done the same thing with regards to my talks.

    I do follow an outline, but for some reason it does me no good to be completely scripted. The information is within me and as long as I have an outline then the information flows out as it should.

    I also use Power Point for Conferences but the same method works best for me. I utilize Power Point to carry my outline theme and the talk seems to flow.

    Intersting that you brought this up because I have never mentioned this to anyone before. I wonder how many other people are naturally inclined to this kind of method when addressing audiences? hmmmm? ....and I didn't know if it was an "aspie thing" or not???

  2. Every Aspie has an area of interest, and within that area their mind stores and organizes vast amounts of information.

    I am passionate about helping people understand things or at least gaining an awareness. So, I think that my Aspie mind is constantly working on reordering the information so that it can be released in an easy to follow order.

    Of course being an Aspie I like things that are orderly and easy to follow.

    I very much deal in broad outlines, but also struggle with not giving too many details. I've really worked at only giving as much detail as time and learning allows. If the audience wants more detail on an area then they can query that during question and answer time.