Last week I attended the National Speaker Associations (NSA) Mega Publishing Lab Conference in Queens, New York. About four years ago I got involved with NSA after they awarded me the Earl Nightingale Scholarship, which providing financial aid in pursuing my Master’s degree from Seton Hall University. Ever since I’ve stayed involved as a student member and am now a full-time member.
This conference was a real eye-opener to me. There were so many highlights. On the first day I was introduced to many established authors who have had their books sell millions of copies worldwide. On the second day I got to pitch my next book to a publishing group and on the third day I got to learn how to market my book.
On the second day of the conference, I had an interesting experience during a small group event. Most of the people in my group were discussing publishing books focused on the topics of real estate and business. When it was my turn to introduce myself and the topic of my book, I mentioned writing a book on autism and everyone seemed intrigued.
I continued discussing my story and what I was doing in speaking and everyone seemed so receptive to it. After my introduction, many people across the table told me that I had great potential for the future. They told me I shouldn’t only focus on writing books but I should become a world-renowned speaker for Special Education schools and programs throughout the country.
I was dumbfounded by this feedback. I didn’t expect people with so much experience to give me these words of encouragement. I was a newcomer but while listening to the comments, I was reminded of how far I’ve come and how much further I have the chance to go to in the future.
This made me think about so many other adults with autism and gave me the biggest smile on my face. There are so many gifted individuals out there that I know can have similar outcomes.
I almost thought it was fate for all this to be happening when after the conference was over on Saturday I went to Autismspeaks.org that night and saw a news item entitled, “US Employment Outlook Appears Brighter.” I read the article and realized that the unemployment rate in the United States had fallen to 6.3%, the lowest level since September 2008 according to the US Department of Labor.
This has made me optimistic for our community moving forward. I hope that those individuals in our community who have talents are given these positive reinforcements so they can achieve their dreams, especially when it comes to employment. There is still a majority of adults with autism out there who are unemployed and I hope we can change that in the very near future.