According to Daniel Wendler, for most of his life he was “the most socially awkward kid you’d ever hope to meet.”
“I had no idea how to have a decent conversation, was clueless when it came to relationships, and was downright terrified when it came to meeting new people. I struggled with depression, endured constant bullying, and thought that there was something deeply wrong with me that make others dislike me.”
But when he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, everything changed.
According to Daniel, his diagnosis confirmed that he hadn’t been cursed at birth to be lonely, but that he simply didn’t have the social skills that most neuro-typical adults have — and social skills can be learned. So Daniel decided to learn them.
After ten years of reading books on social interaction and seeking advice from relationship experts, Daniel “grew from a lonely, bullied boy to a confident, charismatic man.”
In his talk at TEDxUniversityofArizona, Daniel discusses how he overcame his adolescent social anxiety by studying the systems that govern neuro-typical social interactions and defining them in “his own language.”
His words are a testament to the significant obstacles adults on the spectrum face in becoming socially successful, but also to the power that exists in choosing to define Autism not as a disability, but as a series of obstacles to be overcome.
Learn more about Daniel’s important journey in the video.