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TED made me talk ... and people listened

When an otherwise level-headed young woman asked me if I wanted to entertain hundreds – ultimately, thousands – of people by giving a 10-minute TEDx Lansing Talk, I was too stunned to respond at first.

I figured people would likely be more willing to pay me not to talk, given my trademark stutter.

But, no, Robin Miner-Swartz wanted the real me.

So I gave it to her.

It wasn't pretty, but my message resonated: It was my audience that had the disability – faulty listening, which could be adjusted, if they tried – not me, a speaker with a stutter that could not be fixed.

No one was more surprised than I was when I received a standing ovation. Almost 11 years later, 12,000 people have seen the video.

Some say this is painful to watch, others say it's enlightening. I give you: my TEDx Talk. Let me know where you end up.


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