Morrow, who is the author of two books on autism, visited the area from Northern Ireland to talk about his life growing up. He described overcoming many negative stereotypes associated with autism and becoming who he is now - an author, motivational speaker and social worker with a global network dedicated to the education of how important autistic people are to the world.
"Who in the audience has a smartphone?" he asked the students. Nearly everyone raised their hands. He then explained the roll autistic people had in the advancements of science and technology that led to everyone having mini-computers/communication devices with them at all times. "Steve Jobs was autistic," he told the crowd.
He then listed a number of many very focused and successful people who had autism. Einstein, Mozart and Marie Currie were all autistic according to Morrow. "These are facts, look them up," he told the assembly.
He used his own story to point out how beating misconceptions, stereotypes and finding the right combination of people along the way can make all the difference in the world for anyone, but especially someone with autism.
"This wonderful boy had so many challenges from the way other people viewed him," Morrow described himself to the crowd of teens and during his TEDx talk on YouTube.
Morrow didn't come all the way across the pond to just give a motivational speech. He has a mission to teach the world about the positives of the autism community and not the negative stereotypes.
"That's pretty negative isn't it?" he asked before tasking the crowd with seeing that definition as a barrier. 'How would you feel if you were always being told what you can't do or what you are doing isn't normal?"
He emphasized that to the person with autism their behavior is perfectly normal.
So much focus is placed on what an autistic kid is not. By labeling autism as a disorder stigmatizes the individual. He asked everyone to consider the good qualities the individual has instead. "We are the ones asked to change," he said. Instead of seeing social interactions or "quirks" as negatives, the audience was challenged to accept those things as individual traits or perhaps even strengths.
Allowing people to be who they are and helping them grow can lead to incredible things.
"The next Nobel Prize winner might be in this audience," he said to the students and teachers.
"On the schoolyard, there was chaos," he explained about how he saw the other children's idea of play. He described holding his teacher's hand not knowing how he could fit into that type of play. He just wanted to play his way.
Then he told the crowd something he would repeat many times, "Yet, I was the one asked to change."
He also took the opportunity to make friends wherever he went. That was evident when Franklin Chamber of Commerce director Jodi Baker Lewis held an informal meet and greet. When a learning support teacher dropped by to get a book, Morrow gladly signed it and threw in a spoiler about his memoir. "I don't die at the end," he whispered with a smile.
His gentleness kept things light throughout the one-on-one interactions, which much like his presentations, included humor to keep people relaxed while he informs.
They got a chance to talk briefly and talked about perhaps doing another podcast.
Morrow is always wanting another chance to reach more people with his message agreed.
He was impressed that Snyder was openly talking about his autism at such a young age and he commended his knowledge. Morrow told Snyder they are part of a very important group of people and part of the same tribe. "It is easier for me to talk to you, than is talking to them" he told Snyder as he gestured toward the rest of us in the room.
He wasn't being distrustful to us, he was explaining to Snyder it is OKto seek out those you're comfortable talking with. It was a beautiful exchange.
Through group talks and one-on-one sessions, he is hoping educators become more aware of how to best support and teach children on the spectrum so they can better achieve their potential.
"We don't think of the word autism as a disorder, and yet we're stigmatized," he said. He encourages people to embrace they are different and understand that their talents may lie within those differences. If this society can at least begin to understand this, he'll know his work is helping better humanity.
His books can be found on Amazon.