Youth Motivational Speaker mesmerizes Student with Autism
If you’ve heard Jeff Yalden speak, you know he has a nephew that has autism. So when, Jeff spoke in Muskogee, OK this past week and Jeff knew there would be many teens with learning disabilities and life challenges, Jeff was eager to meet them all. As Jeff does with all his audiences, he makes “The Jeff Yalden Experience”, an experience even for those with disabilities. Jeff is passionate about young people with disabilities and making sure their visit with Jeff is as great as Jeff’s visit with all the students.
On this one day in Muskogee, Jeff knew that one particular school was legally blind. All 18 kids from the school were there to hear Jeff speak. The first thing Jeff did after the introduction was to go over to where they were sitting and speak to them first. He said, “One of the greatest speaking engagements I ever had was in Florida to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. 600 kids – half of them couldn’t see me and half of them couldn’t hear me. It was the greatest speaking engagement of my life. Today, my friends, I share my message for you!” Jeff instantly became a huge hit with all the kids.
After Jeff spoke, like every speaking engagement, Jeff goes to his table and signs pictures and takes pictures with the kids. There was this one child who kept coming by and starring. Then the child came by with the director that brought Jeff in for the youth conference. The boy wanted a picture with Jeff. The issue was that the boy could make little eye contact, but couldn’t speak and when you tried to speak to him, ,he’d walk off.
As the day progressed, Jeff noticed on his table a little crumbled up piece of paper with a phone number on it. Jeff didn’t pay any attention to it. Then again, the boy came over and deliberately dropped another piece of paper on Jeff’s table with another note that said, “Hey Jeff, here’s my number . . . “ The boy kept walking by and starring at Jeff.
Jeff went to the director and shared what happened. Puzzled was Jeff thinking, “What should I do . . . ?” Jeff knew that texting him would be inappropriate so he made a decision to give the boy a signed picture, tshirt, poster, sticker, bracelet, and a DVD. Then Jeff sat with the boy during the awards and handed everything to him.
As the day ended, the boy would stand within hearing distance of Jeff wherever he was. They had security keep an eye on him, but Jeff wasn’t bothered as he tried to speak with him and make sure he had a ride home and that he was ok. He was there on his own. Nobody could figure that out.
Later that night, Jeff was 200 miles away in his hotel and noticed that this boy had contacted Jeff through his twitter account and YouTube. Jeff had that little crumbled up piece of paper and decided that, although it’s crossing boundaries, he needed to connect with the boy. Jeff decided to text him. His name was Preston. Immediately, Preston texted back, thrilled to hear from his new friend.
Well, the night went on and Preston texted Jeff over 25 times. Jeff texted his friend back each time.
The following day, Jeff spoke in Durant, OK to 2000 students and throughout the day his new friend Preston had kept texting his new friend Jeff. When Jeff could, he responded.
Jeff met a new friend and one of his last texts before Jeff got on the plane to leave Oklahoma headed back home to Boston was Preston asking, “Hey bro, will we ever see each other again?” Jeff responded, “Let’s make sure we do! We are friends now . . . Gotta go buddy, but meeting you made my trip Awesome!”
As Jeff looks back on his trip to Oklahoma and the awesome kids he met, what really sticks out the most was the school of legally blind teens that embraced Jeff with pictures and meeting his new friend Preston
Youth Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden gives a child with autism hope and in return Jeff answers the three questions with a resounding “YES”, he asks his audiences:
- Is my life fulfilling
- Is my life meaningful
- Is my life rewarding
What a great trip to Oklahoma for Youth Motivational Speaker and Teen Life Coach, Jeff Yalden.