STEM force


Last Friday, my friend, Alysia sent me a link to a video with the following note attached.

You must watch every minute of all 28 minutes. I would not say that if I didn’t feel that strongly, you know that. His talk will turn everything on its head for you. I am going into the weekend with incredible hope and a completely different outlook at my kids. All three of them.

With people like this in the world, our kids will be okay.

Click on the YouTube link in the message below. You will not regret it. I promise.

Love, Alysia

That’s a pretty strong recommendation, isn’t it?

So I knew I’d have to find time to watch it. It took me two days before I could carve out twenty-eight minutes, but I finally did. And as I watched the video, I felt it growing – the sense that something big – something really big – is starting.

My kid is not one of those described in the video. Although it’s certainly not impossible, I don’t see a great likelihood that she’s going to be writing code in her spare time. She struggles mightily with math, working hard on mastering early first grade concepts while her third grade peers tackle word problems. But that’s not the point.

The point is that people out there are beginning to think differently about ability. People like Garret Westlake are finding ways to harness the power of what had, in so many cases been a previously unemployable population. They are creating a path to full participation, brazenly removing the barriers to success for people with autism – and doing it by standing the entire paradigm on its head.

This is how it begins.

Thank you, Garret. Thank you.

Watch the video here …



17 thoughts on “STEM force

  1. And can I add.. I took the message from Garret to mean that underneath the surface, all of our kids have an incredible talent, waiting to come out. Do I see my middle son writing code too? No. But there’s something incredible that he’s destined to do, BECAUSE of how he thinks. Not despite it.

  2. This is awesome! I will not be writing code anytime soon, but I do write 🙂 I need(ed) someone like Garrett to help me figure out how to make a career out of my natural ability. Somehow, I don’t think there’s much of a career to be had in writing, but it would be nice! Had I had a Garrett when I was in college, things might be very, very different for me now.

    • Lydia,

      I can only imagine how different life would be for so many adults had there been a Garret in their lives!

      Turning the deficit model of education on its head now will have an effect of truly enormous scope in the future, but so too I have to think that changing the employment model will have an effect starting immediately.



  3. this is hopeful. i worry about what will happen with my 6 yr old as he grows older. but i am encouraged, even with his Asperger’s diagnosis, he’s in the gifted program and working with teachers who are excited by how quickly he learns and patient with his struggles

  4. Excellent. We’ve been fortunate, my son was labeled gifted first, then AS later, so he’s had the advantage of help with both – now to figure out how to get hooked up with something like this to motivate him as he views high school as just one big boring thing he has to get through…

  5. Change happens one person at a time and with people like Garret becoming part of the process, well, it’s just going to be happening a lot faster. I feel better about my son’s future when I see this – he has tons to share.

  6. I relate very strongly to the problem of being good at doing what a job would require, but interviewing so poorly I’d never be considered for it. Also, to the young woman who was bothered more than anything by inelegant mathematics used in international currency algorithms. Now I’m bothered by that too – “thanks”, Jess!! 😉

    I think that in the past people in positions of authority would assume that if they couldn’t understand something, then the something must be incorrect or useless. In the general population, I’ve observed that people of average intelligence seem to feel threatened by anything that’s at all different from their own experiences, and thus respond with hostility. Part of society as a whole becoming inclusive and accepting is individuals to realize that their personal inability to comprehend something is usually irrelevant to that something’s truth or usefulness. But like you said, Jess, this is how it begins.

  7. Try Defying Gravity ~ Thank you for sharing this incredible video. Worth every minute.

    Dawn ~ That was AMAZING! Our kids are so smart!

    Julie ~ It’s good for my heart to see things like this. Simply because there is a disability does not mean there is not intelligence. People get so stuck on the diagnosis that they lose sight of the human behind it. Thank you for sharing.

    Diana ~ Thank you so much Jess, this is uplifting, exciting!! my heart is pounding so hard, I know our kids are the future we just cant stop believing!!. Thank you for sharing!
    7 hours ago · Like

    Patricia ~ Wonderful. Excellent points, very thought provoking.

    Stephanie ~ Amazing!!

    Donna ~ Awesome information…I’m going to share this my family and friends!!!

  8. I really needed this video tonight, after rubbing salve on all my little guys scratches that he did to himself today at daycare when the routine changed. Thank you Garrett….not only for what you do, but for sharing the message, one person at a time. Thanks Jess and others who posted!

  9. So glad I carved out the time to watch this (although I do wish it wasn’t at 1:15 am when I should be sleeping). My oldest dislikes math and it seems one of his brothesr (without a dx) is more the engineer variety, but I love Grants message and the underlying idea that we need to find ways to tap their strengths and make that the bigger focus. My husband says all the time our seven yr old has untapped potential in his obsession for tic-tac-toe and connect the dots. I’m glad there are people like Grant out there doing just that.

  10. Wow! Thank you all so much for the kind words. So many of the young people I work with are where they are because of the love and support they receive from their families. You all make the difference.
    I could not be more excited for the opportunities and doors that are opening for young people with ASD as a result of you all sharing the work that STEM Force is doing. Keep it up and stay in touch!

  11. Pingback: Turn The World Around « Try Defying Gravity

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