During my career, I have made many presentations in the Northeastern United States about a number of different topics related to living with Cerebral Palsy and using Augmentative Communication assistive technology.
I started my speaking career while in grade school. At that time, I was an ambassador for the Prentke Romich Company. While being an ambassador, I traveled to assistive technology expos across Pennsylvania to speak about the communication device I was using at that time. Participation in these expos gave me the experience to be a good speaker.
In August of 1998, I started speaking at the Pittsburgh Employment Conference. This conference is hosted by SHOUT. Individuals with all kinds of disabilities who uses augmentative communication and speech pathologists attend this conference every two years. I have been honored to speak at seven Pittsburgh Employment Conferences. Some of the topics I spoke about are Owning and Running My Own Business (Most Recent), Living with Cerebral Palsy Day To Day, The SHOUT Web Site (With Beth Anne Luciani), and Attending College Using Augmentative Communication. In my opinion, the Pittsburgh Employment Conference is the best augmentative communication conference out there. It not only enables me to make presentations, but I am able to reunite with my friends there, which is very special to me.
While I continue speaking at augmentative communication conferences, my good friend Bonnie Young (who was my assistive technology supervisor since grade school until I graduated high school) nominated me for the 2007 Edwin and Esther Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture Award in Boston, Massachusetts. To my surprise, I was selected to go to Boston to accept the award, during which time I was asked to deliver a 20 minute speech titled "My Life With Assistive Technology And Community Interactions". With my speech, I had a Power Point presentation so that the people who attended the lecture could see what I was talking about.
At that time, I was in the process of ordering a new communication device, the ECO. However, I came to learn I would not receive the new communication device in time for me to take it to Boston. I was disappointed. My speech pathologist and friend, Carrie Kane of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation, Allentown, made arrangements with the Prentke Romich Company for me to borrow an ECO to use for my speech. I was very grateful to them.
Boston was a fun time. It got exciting when I met Jenny McCarthy at the Autism Booth. I was very excited to meet her. It got more unbelievable when she kissed me. That is one of the highlights of my life.
Before I went to Boston, my Uncle Bill, who is a reporter for the Times News, contacted me about writing an newspaper article about my experience going to Boston to receive the lecture award. He titled the article "Anything but typical; Summit Hill young man earns national award, will be keynote speaker at annual convention in Boston". After the article was in the newspaper, I received an e-mail from a professor at East Stroudsburg University. He told me he read the newspaper article about me and was interested in having me at their conference known as "Through Their Eyes". I accepted his offer to speak about "My Life With Assistive Technology And Community Interactions," similar to my Boston speech. That started my speech tour. In the Spring of 2009, I was invited to the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Pennsylvania Conference at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. With the assistance of my friend, Carrie Kane, and Amy Goldman from Temple University, I made a presentation during the conference, which was mainly for college students majoring in Speech Pathology.
In 2010, I was invited by a special education teacher at the Panther Valley Elementary School to talk about living with Cereal Palsy. She contacted me on facebook to set up my presentation. I like to talk to students about my Cerebral Palsy, because they see me around town or at sporting events and wonder about me and my disability.
If you are interested in me making a similar presentation to your school, class, or organization, please e-mail me at email@example.com.