WSVN — When Dayton Milanes was born, his mom had no idea how much it would change their lives. At 18-months old, her son was diagnosed with autism.

Katherine Speer-Milanes: “It was a very scary time, there were a lot of unknowns.”

Dayton didn’t speak but with a lot of hard work that began to change.

Katherine Speer-Milanes: “We learned with every obstacle there’s an opportunity.”

Now 12, Dayton is speaking his mind he wants to share what it’s like living life with autism. And he wants the world to listen.

Dayton got the chance when he was chosen as a finalist in the TEDx Youth Miami Event.

TED is an international organization that began 30 years ago.

Arvi Balseiro: “What it strived to do was to bring together brilliant minds that had ideas about how to make the world a better place.”

Miami-Dade County students are encouraged to submit their ideas. Then if selected, they work to present their message in front of hundreds of people at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Arvi Balseiro: “So that they understand their idea no matter how old they are, can impact other children, adults, others way of thinking.”

Natasha Williams has dedicated her life to tap dancing.

For years, she’s been teaching kids in the community the art of tapping, so when she was asked to take part in Ted-X Youth Miami, she jumped at the opportunity.

Natasha Williams: “To go on stage, to speak about something that I love, then to present work that was all my own was really, really rewarding.”

She included some of her students in her presentation and talked about how with hard work and commitment you can achieve anything.

Natasha Williams: “So it doesn’t matter what you’re doing once you put in that much time, that’s when you become good at it and it’s almost like second nature.”

Dayton’s speech on autism prompted a standing ovation.

Dayton Milanes: “The whole front row jumped up and started screaming. I watched the whole room light up.”

Dayton says it was a great experience.

Dayton Milanes: “I was able to memorize my own speech and a lot of other people’s speeches.”

And now he knows the sky is the limit when it comes to what he can accomplish.

Dayton Milanes: “One day actually, I’m hoping to run for office and maybe even become President.”

Dayton you have our vote. By the way, the presentations are also streamed live internationally so if your child has an idea that should be shared with the world there’s still time to apply.


If you want to share an idea that evokes passion, solicits curiosity and ignites creativity in others, find out more at:

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