Student with autism becomes internet sensation after inspirational graduation speech

Manuela Cardiga
Jun 18, 2018
05:39 P.M.
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A young man made a special speech and inspired thousands


Sef Scott is a special young man, and he has just graduated from high school. Scott is not much of a talker, and so when he was asked to address his fellow graduates as a commencement speaker at his graduation, his colleagues were surprised.

Scott, 17, has autism, and though he has the vocabulary and the ability to speak he shies away from contact with his peers at the Plano Senior High School in Texas. His extraordinary speech was posted on Youtube  and went viral,

Children with autism spectrum disorder struggle to acquire social, emotional and communication skills, and Scott usually only opens up to a small group of close friends and family members


Assistant Principal Bryan Spiritus, who has worked with Scott for two years, explained that his main concern was that the young man might 'freeze' when faced with an audience of 1,400 students and the additional 8,000 guests in the arena.

“My name is Sef Scott and I am a student with learning differences. (***) It is not normal for me to electively speak. Just by my being here- speaking to all of you, that is unexpected.”


Sef Scott, CNN, 15th of June 2018.

Scott worked with his teacher Brittney Love, his mother and his brother. His brother, who survived a brain tumor, and often gives motivational talks for children's charities, helped Scott write his speech, 

Scott's main focus was on living life unexpectedly. The young man encouraged his peers to seek their own path through life, and not to live according to other's expectations.


Spiritus said that he felt that Scott's speech was one of the best graduation messages he'd ever heard. The Assistant Principal made it clear that Scott had not been chosen because of his disability, but for his powerful motivational message. 

Scott's speech lasted only six minutes, but during that time he had his audience laughing, cheering. He finished his speech to general approval and was rewarded with a standing ovation from the audience.

Love spoke about her pride in her pupil, and the hard work he has put in to overcome his difficulties.

Scott's last words extolled his fellow students to "sprinkle unexpected moments throughout your everyday life" and to do their best to make the lives of others better.

Read more about Sef Scott on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.