There is much wisdom to be drawn from Muhammad Ali- such as believe in yourself, stand up for justice, help others, and work hard at your craft. But there is also a surprising lesson to be drawn from his life story— learn to appreciate neurodiversity and neuroplasticity, as did Ali’s legendary trainer and friend, Angelo Dundee.
Thank you to Anita Lesko for providing the below 4 min and 30 sec video of her speaking at the United Nations last month! Take a look, and enjoy her recap below!
By Anita Lesko
I had the distinct honor of being invited to the United Nations Headquarters for World Autism Awareness Day 2017. I was on a Panel with 4 other people, and moderated by Caren Zucker, the journalist, producer and New York Times Bestselling author. Our topic was “Dating, Relationships and Marriage.”
I shall never forget that moment as I walked up the stairs of the United Nations, so majestic with all the flags from around the world flying in the wind. I first had to go through the security check point which was equal to that of airport security. Once out of that, I was greeted by a volunteer who was waiting to escort me to the room the event would be taking place in. Finally arriving at the location, I was in awe when I entered the great room with its stadium style seating. I then saw my name in front of my seat. It was an extremely overwhelming experience.
The event began with an exceptional presentation by world-famous autism researcher Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen. One after another highly-acclaimed individual spoke about autism and what they and their organization were doing to improve the lives and wellbeing of those on the autism spectrum. Representatives from all around the world were there.
I learned firsthand the tremendous amount of work being done on a global scale to help us folks with autism. These people have devoted their lives to helping us. More and more resources are becoming available to individuals with autism and their families. This leads to better outcomes and happier, more productive and fulfilling lives.
Also, be sure to check out Anita on her episode of our Spectrumly Speaking podcast here.
Anita Lesko was diagnosed with autism at age 50. A graduate of Columbia University in 1988, she earned her Master’s in Nurse Anesthesia and has been working full time for 28 years as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Her special interests have earned her a flight in an F-15 fighter jet and jumping horses over 6 foot fences. An internationally recognized autism advocate and member of Autism Society of America’s Panel of Autistic Advisors, Anita is married to her husband who is also autistic. She has a new book coming out in September 2017 by Future Horizons that’s going to change health care for autistic individuals around the world. Anita is also a Project Co-Lead on a $250,000 PCORI funded grant for Adults with Autism and other Stakeholders Engaging Together. This project aims to improve healthcare for autistic adults. Anita spoke at the United Nations Headquarters for World Autism Awareness Day 2017.