My Autism and Poetry speech in Marlboro and The Dirty Dottys win the New England Music Awards show

24 Oct

Me at the Autism and Poetry Summit in Marlboro

Last Saturday, I gave a speech to discuss how autism and poetry allow me to become my own best advocate for the autism community. It was held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlboro. I was encouraged to participate in this event by my job coach, Orlando Torres, after seeing an email in my inbox detailing a conference for self-advocates with intellectual or developmental disabilities to participate in and choose the topic of their expertise. Since I have written at least 10 poems in my life, I figured that it would be good for me to join this event since I use my poetry to reach out to others in the autism community and among my neurotypical family and peers as well.

At around 11:30 AM, I gave my speech about autism and poetry entitled “Do It the Write Way!” In the presentation, I mentioned how I use my poems and songs to become a strong advocate for people with autism and how the creative process for my poetry works. I talked about my poetry helps to express my true inner emotions and that I would like my songs to help change people’s perspectives of people with autism. Songwriters like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have influenced my way of using expressive language to describe my personal feelings about the subjects in which I discuss in the poems. I also mentioned how I like to discuss the rough drafts of my poems with my family and friends to see if I’m going in the right direction with the rhythmic patterns of the poems. In between slides of the presentation, I did a question and answer question to get their reactions of wanting to know how my poetry works. I concluded the session by reciting two poems of mine called “Just a Normal Day” and “Acceptance of Autism” and then asked the audience to try to come up with poems of their own to get a feel of the creative process.

Later on that Saturday, I headed over to Boston to join my brother Brian and his girlfriend Amanda to attend The Dirty Dottys show at the Hard Rock Cafe for the Finals of the New England Music Awards show. The band is fronted by Julie DiOrio, a talented vocalist and guitarist of whom I attended high school with, along with Ellie Foster and Maura McGillicuddy on backing vocals, Austin Arroco on trombone, Jonathan Kessler on the drums, and Danny Teza on the bass. I have previously seen the Dottys at least 5 times, including at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington, The Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville for their album release party around Christmas last year, and a few other locations in the Greater Boston area. They had previously won the Semifinals at Hard Rock on September 18th during a battle of the New England bands competition. After winning the Semifinals, I felt obligated to attend the Finals round to continue to show my support the band.

At around 9:30 PM, Brian, Amanda, and I arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe to get ready for the Dottys’ set to commence in the New England Music Awards Finals. We met up with Amanda’s friends Katie Phillips and Allie Miller in the main stage room. After listening to a few of the other runner up bands in the Finals, it was time for the Dottys to take the stage. We were very excited to see them perform and danced and sang along to their catchy soul, rock, and ska infused tunes. The band performed songs such as “Shaky House,” “Not to Call,” and a few other memorable songs. At around midnight, it was announced that the Dottys had won the Last Band Standing prize for bands in Massachusetts. I congratulated them on a job well done and made sure to spread the message to family and friends.

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19 Responses to “My Autism and Poetry speech in Marlboro and The Dirty Dottys win the New England Music Awards show”

  1. Susie Davidson October 24, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    Well stated and congratulations on both achievements!

  2. susansenator October 25, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    I like the use of a pun in your speech title. And it sounds like it was a great presentation. As for the Dirty Dottys, well, this is the first time I ever heard of them but that’s because I’m stuck in the Seventies!

  3. Tom Rush October 25, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Congratulations all around, Scott! I like your description of your family as “neurotypical.” It feels both dismissive and condescending (in a humorous way). Good work!

  4. Holli Ross Wasser October 25, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    What a wonderful presentation Scott. Not to mention you made the most of a great opportunity. Keep it up and congratulations!

  5. Tanya Savko October 26, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    That’s fantastic, Scott! I have to give presentations for my work and it’s always nerve-wracking for me. It sounds like it went very well for you – bravo!

  6. Tom Murphy October 27, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    Scott – Very proud of your accomplishments! Your descriptive language allows me to feel like I am enjoying the night with you and Brian. Actually, I wish I was. The Dirty Dotties sound terrific and it’s always nice to hear about the success of another BMHS alum.

  7. ellenmeister October 27, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    What an honor! Congratulations, Scott. I bet the audience loved it and had some great question for you. Glad it was followed up by a terrific day of music!

  8. Keith Asarkof October 27, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    Congratulations on another job well done. Public speaking is very challenging for most people. The fact that you are so successful at it despite your autism suggests incredible strength and self resolve. Keep up the great effort Scott.

  9. mom-nos October 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Congratulations on the presentation, Scott! I love the idea of getting the audience involved to give them a sense of the creative process. I bet it was an eye opener for a lot of people.

  10. Chuck October 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Hello “Favoured” Nephew: Very proud of your accomplishments and for being a voice for others who may not be able to get up in front of a crowd! Congrats to the Dirty Dotty’s!

  11. Genevieve Durante October 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Sounds like an exciting day, Scott! I love that you encouraged the audience to write a poem on their own at the end of your presentation. It’s a great way for people to be creative, understand the writing process, AND express their own feelings. I saw the Dirty Dotties play once in Lowell and they were great – glad to hear they won the award!

  12. Full Spectrum Mama November 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Sounds like a FANTASTIC day – and quite rewarding.

  13. harleyjanekozak November 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    Congratulations! Sounds like a triumph.

  14. Rachel Simon November 15, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    Sounds like an amazing day in every way, with a milestone of an achievement for you, followed by a memorable night. (I actually happen to know a Katie Phillips in Boston, and wonder if she could be the same Katie you know. The one I know makes videos and does other PR for a living.) May your star keep rising.

  15. Salvatore J. DiStefano November 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    Hi Scott, I am proud of your achievements! You write beautifully! I love how you embrace life and live for the moments that count! Always remember: You are tower strength, love, and power! Warmly, Sal

  16. Roz Warren January 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Terrific! Thanks for keeping me posted about your life & accomplishments.

  17. Neal Braverman March 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Hi Scott,

    I am so glad you had such a warm welcome to your personal pro-active stance on Autism, how it does NOT affect your wonderful life and how you do everything not only for yourself but to help any individuals or Families with dealing in a Positive way with and about Autism.

    I am so glad your favorite band won the contest and I am sure your support of them was a very special part of their achievement. May you continue your Love of Life and Forever! May you remain Healthy and Health- Filled throughout your very special Life!!

    Keep up the great work and sounds like you have a great mentor!!!

    Always, Neal :)))

  18. Lori Shery April 3, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

    Kudos to you, Scott! You’ve combined two important areas: self-advocacy and poetry. I admire you for excelling at both! All the best, Lori

  19. Tanya Savko May 6, 2016 at 4:12 am #

    Wow Scott, that sounds like a great speech you gave! I’m always encouraging my son to be a self-advocate as well. Keep up the good work!

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