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TEDxBloomington -- Stephen Volan -- "Approaching Autism Theatrically"

Until?Stephen Volan?was diagnosed in 2002 with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 37, he had no way to address his difficulties navigating the minefields of society and the workplace. Holding jobs, maintaining close relationships, or reading faces and body language were all exercises in paralysis-inducing doubt and frustration. Long before ""the autism spectrum"" was as widely discussed as it is today, he had unwittingly begun overcoming its handicaps thanks to a serendipitous theater class at Second City in Chicago. In it he learned to rely on a skill he knew how to use without hesitation: being playful.Despite Volan's (not-so-) apparent limitation, he has managed to thrive in his adopted hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.?He is in his eighth year representing a district of 13,000 on the city council,?teaches a for-credit course at Indiana University?called "Intro to Chess," has hosted and programmed a weekly two-hour music show on the local community radio station for almost two decades, and founded the city's first Internet access company in 1994. In his TEDxBloomington presentation (the only one to receive a standing ovation), he said, ""To me, subtext is a foreign language; I can learn to speak it fluently like you, but it'll never be native. There are many different kinds of literacy."" http://www.volan.orgAbout TEDx In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxBloomington, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxBloomington event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.
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