How autism freed me to be myself

Rosie King Rosie King challenges stereotypes of people with autism and contextualizes the issue by asking us, “Why be normal?” “Some people might call my obsession with facts boring. I call it FOCUS.” – Rosie King ABOUT ROSIE When she was nine years old, doctors confirmed Rosie King’s self-diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. With two younger siblings severely affected by autism, Rosie had a burning desire to help make the world a more tolerant place for people with autism ever since she was a young girl. She found the opportunity to do so when her family was invited to do a local news segment on her mother’s children’s books that featured Rosie’s illustrations. Her lack of inhibition made her a natural presenter, and she was asked to host BBC Newsround’s special program “My Autism and Me,” bringing her a much wider audience and an Emmy Kid’s Award. Rosie continues to raise awareness about autism, and is working towards her goal of becoming a professional actress and storyteller. INTRIGUED? HERE’S MORE… If you could meet your 10-year-old self, what would you tell her?  I’d tell her the darkness won’t last forever, and that no matter how big and scary the monsters may seem you’ll find that one little spark of [...] continue the story

My father, locked in his body but soaring free

Published on Oct 19, 2014

At TEDMED, photographer Kitra Cahana shares a new visual language accompanying the extraordinary story of her father’s severe brainstem stroke, a catastrophe that transforms into an inspiring and imaginative spiritual journey.

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

It’s very difficult to express the sublime and the surreal in words and photographs. I wanted to attempt to communicate all that my family had experienced in the summer of 2011 – my father’s brain stem stroke, and the profound spiritual awakening that followed – with others. When my father first had his stroke, I wrote down these words, and whispered them to him when I first came to his bedside: “We only ever needed one pair of hands, two legs, a respiratory system to keep the world afloat between us.” This became my mantra. We can sustain ourselves through each other. This is what my father taught us; he said that all who came into his room of healing should expect to be healed themselves. Healing has to be mutual.

The stroke ruptured my reality as well as his. In those initial months, so devoted to his limp body and to allowing him to communicate all that was bursting to [...] continue the story

Beyond surviving

Published on Oct 22, 2014

At TEDMED, Debra Jarvis draws on her own experience with cancer to offer a witty yet daring look at the way that survivors of disease and trauma can achieve new levels of emotional and psychological healing. For writer, ordained minister, and hospital chaplain Debra Jarvis, humor is a powerful balm. She is not afraid to be funny even when doing very serious work with the sick and dying as a hospice chaplain, a pastoral consultant for volunteer groups caring for people with AIDS and MS, and staff chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Debra is the author of It’s Not About the Hair: And Other Certainties of Life & Cancer and numerous other books. Currently on sabbatical in Geneva, Debra’s last job was as writer-in-residence for the University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. In her free time, Debra accompanies her Cairn terrier Max in his therapy dog work.

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