Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Biggest Day of My Life (So Far)

On Wednesday, April 6th, I had the distinct honor and privilege to sit on a panel at the United Nations in New York City. It was an event co-sponsored by Autism Speaks and the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh at the United Nations, dedicated to raising awareness of autism and addressing related issues in different areas.

My job was to be the "human" face on the subject, to remind the audience and the other panelists that, first and foremost, we are dealing with people here. Not statistics, not figures, but fellow human beings. The other panelists were Dr. Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer of Autism Speakers; Prof. Saima Wazed Hossain, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh and daughter of the Prime Minister; and Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Mental Health division at the World Health Organization.

As I sat on a couch in the Bangladesh Mission before the event, I kept wondering how it was that I got there. A series of chance encounters, made connections, coincidences, taken opportunities, and plain old luck seemed to be at work, all in combination. My family, my friends, everyone who believed in me in my life, are all what I felt like propelled me to the place where I am now, the place where I would be invited to be a part of something like this.

I could say so much more on the subject, but I would very much like to show you all the video of the event, so that you can see for yourself what it was like. The entire event is in the video below, and my portion of the panel starts at the 1 hour, 8 minute mark. I hope you enjoy it!