Having autism and Tourette’s, David Petrovic is a teacher, an author, a TEDx 2016 speaker, and an actor. David has powered through struggles and bullying to come to a place of peace and fulfillment, thanks to the new-found faith that saved him. Dave exemplifies his belief that adversity has great purpose. Though nonverbal until nearly age three, he unbelievably progressed to public speaking while still in high school. He strives to enlighten the world about the realities and potentials of those with differences, debunking stereotypes and changing perspectives. Dave entertains while he enlightens, eliciting both laughter and tears.
David graduated cum laude in 2015 from Notre Dame College in South Euclid, OH. He has a B.A. in Middle Childhood Education with a concentration in English/Language Arts. He earned a graduate certificate in theology from St. Joseph's College in Standish, Maine in May of 2018. Dave's co-authored book was released his senior undergraduate year (Expect a Miracle: A Mother/Son Asperger Journey of Determination and Triumph). He has since been featured in other print mediums, guest blogs, and on TV, and he has been cited and interviewed in other writings. After graduating, David split his professional foci between teaching and motivational speaking, enabling him to share his learned lessons beyond his classroom walls. David worked as a substitute teacher while pursuing his graduate studies; he is now a junior high religion teacher at a Catholic elementary school in the heart of Cleveland. From volunteering with Life Teen and Steubenville Youth Conferences, to speaking in schools and in parish formation groups, there is nothing that brings David greater fulfillment than helping young people to recognize their value and bring their faith alive. He is also discerning the Catholic clergy.
-My Spectrum on the Spectrum: (For parent, parish, corporate and community groups) Besides relevant messages geared toward the specific audience, these commonalities are included in all 3 talks: David uses autism awareness as a springboard to dispel stereotypes and to teach acceptance of diversity and differences (both in self and others). He describes how bullying affected him, going into more depth with young audiences. Dave reveals his faith journey to fulfillment, including life lessons he learned that are applicable to everyone. He focuses on overcoming adversity, turning negatives into positives, and maximizing potentials. He challenges audiences to live with compassion, be true to themselves, and make a difference in the lives of others.
-Faith 2.0: (For youth, teen, and college groups) Students uniquely relate to David due to his age, passion, and experiences; he “gets” the challenges they face and addresses many of them, incorporating beatboxing and rap. This talk includes the elements listed for “My Spectrum on the Spectrum,” along with anti-bullying/pro-compassion content.
-Both Sides of the Desk: (For educators and service providers who work with students with autism) As a teacher on the spectrum, David is in the unique position to educate his colleagues on the learning needs of students with differences. He reveals what helped him most as a student/client and incorporates his professional training and experiences. This talk includes the elements listed in “My Spectrum on the Spectrum.”
Endorsements & Testimonials:
“David has an ability to educate audiences in a most engaging and animated manner. He is a truly outstanding speaker with a clear message and voice that needs to be heard. My students were riveted and genuinely moved by his talk. I recommend him most highly as an orator who can truly connect with college audiences about issues that matter. He is a breath of fresh air and will not disappoint.” -Dr. Tracy Masterson, Associate Professor of Psychological Science John Carroll University
“When you meet David and listen to him speak, you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on the adversity he’s overcome. Instead, you are transported to a state of mind where you can’t help but be inspired to push forward and have faith that everything happens for a reason. His lighthearted delivery has a heavy message. Dave has a gift of speaking positively about negative things . . . He has taught me several valuable life lessons.” -Nick Formica, Notre Dame College Admissions
“. . . I had a preconceived idea that David may have trouble speaking, however he proceeded to give the best presentation I have witnessed thus far at Lake Erie College...” -Student, Lake Erie College