By Norm Miller, Special to the Message
PINEVILLE – Diagnosed with autism at age 12, Paul Griffin conquered every challenge toward the education that medical and behavioral specialists predicted would be impossible.
The child who was told he’d never read nor write earned a degree in sociology from the University of California.
Louisiana College’s summer TEACH program is bringing Griffin to its Pineville campus June 25.
“I heard Paul speak at Stanford University, and he received a standing ovation,” said Cathy Eschete, LC’s assistant professor of education and director of field experience. “Our community has an incredible opportunity to hear Paul’s moving story.”
Griffin states on his website that he “refused to let my diagnosis keep me from achieving my dreams.” He adds that he can help others “have success on the Autism spectrum.”
Success typifies Griffin’s presentations, as indicated by comments posted on his site:
“Although I’ve known Paul since he was a young boy, I never dreamed he would become the concise and engaging speaker he has become today. He effectively demystifies the autistic syndrome and presents his material, which he in fact has lived, in a powerful biographical presentation that mesmerized my classes. His insights and humor, candidness and courage, ignited deep inspirations in all of us. An added poignancy arose in his warm and loving reflections of his family and his parental support” — Dr. Cecilia Huckestein, professor of psychology, California State University Channel Islands.
“Paul did an outstanding job presenting at our 7th Annual Stanford Autism Update Conference. He gave a touching, informative, and quite funny talk about what it took to succeed in college as a student with ASD. His story is filled with practical advice and seemed to inspire the whole audience! He got a standing ovation from over 300 people and many tears of gratitude and hope” — Dr. Grace Gengoux, clinical assistant professor, Stanford University School of Medicine.
“Paul’s speech was the highlight of our conference. He spoke to an international audience of approximately 500 people, and received a standing ovation at the end of his presentation. Paul is articulate, inspirational, and an outstanding speaker” — Dr. Robert L. Koegel, director of the Koegel Autism Center, University of California Santa Barbara.
“So many families and educators in our community and around the state would be impacted by hearing Paul’s story,” Eschete added.
Griffin’s speaks June 25 at LC’s Granberry Conference Center, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 at the door — first come, first served — and are payable by check or money order.
Reserved seats now available by calling LC’s School of Education: 318.487.7302