Josh Jordan, who is 14 years old and on the autism spectrum, gave the keynote speech at the Western Connecticut Walk Now for Autism Speaks kick off dinner in March. Jordan's speech is written below.
Hello and good evening to everyone here tonight. My name is Josh Jordan and I am a co-captain of team “Be Aware, Care & Share”. Tonight I am talking about why I walk for Autism Speaks.
I started walking six years ago with just my parents, a team of only three! I didn't understand then a lot about why we were walking, but I did know that we were helping people with autism, and that I had autism too. I was 9 years old and still learning about what that meant for me.
I am now 14 years old and getting ready to walk again on Saturday May 9th. Because my parents talked to me about autism, I now know a lot more. I know all about the autism spectrum and where I am on it, I have Aspergers Syndrome. I know I am lucky to be able to be up here tonight and be a voice for myself and others with autism.
I like walking for Autism Speaks because they help all people with autism just like me. I like that the money I help to raise is going to help people with autism get what they need to live a better life. Our team goal this year is to raise $10,000 and I think this money can help a lot of people in many different ways. Some of my favorite ways Autism Speaks has helped others is by giving iPads to people with autism who really need them, helping kids go to summer camp, and helping adults with autism to have a better life too.
Another reason I like to walk for Autism Speaks is all the people from the other teams I get to see every year. It is fun to hang out with them on walk day and when we go to each others fundraisers. It makes me feel like we are part of another family.
I'm also very happy that we have a lot more people on our team now. We started as a team of 3, and this year will have almost 30 people walking with us and trying to reach our big goal. This makes me feel like I am making a difference. And I hope our team gets bigger and bigger every year!
Before I leave I want to also thank everyone at the Sherman School for helping me spread autism awareness and for raising money for Autism Speaks. I'm very happy that all the students now know what autism is and that it is good to have friends with autism too.
With the help of my teachers I started "Light it Up Blue" day at our school when I was in the 5th grade. It is four years later and I can't wait to do it again. I hope when I am in high school next year I can do the same thing there too, because autism awareness is important.
Thank you for listening to me tonight. I hope you enjoy the rest of your night and I will see you all on walk day.