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My life with Asperger's: Daniel Wendler at TEDxUniversityofArizona

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Published on Jun 17, 2013

How can we make sure everyone has a community where they feel accepted ? For many people -- the awkward, the shy, or the simply misunderstood -- life is a lonely experience, and good friends are hard to come by.

Daniel Wendler experienced this firsthand. He has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a neurological condition that prevented him from learning social skills naturally. Without the social skills to make friends or defend himself from bullies, Daniel grew up an outcast.

However, Daniel did not let his challenges define him. When he realized that his struggles were due to his lack of social skills, he decided to study social interaction like a foreign language. Over time, he manually taught himself the social skills that he was unable to learn automatically. He used his newfound skills to reach out to other "outsiders" and discovered the power of close relationships and genuine community.

Today, he works to share what he learned with others. He works as a social skills coach and runs an online resource -- www.improveyoursocialskills.com -- that has had over a quarter million visits. He believes that everyone deserves a place where they belong, and that all of us have something in common with the awkward kid sitting alone in the cafeteria.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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