Ever think of kids with fetal alcohol syndrome as human puzzles with missing pieces?
Myles Himmelreich does every day.
The motivational speaker from Calgary is a noted mentor, consultant and advocate who uses his experience of living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder to inspire national and international audiences.
He shows kids born with fetal alcohol issues how to do the impossible: be a success.
The puzzle metaphor is central to his message.
At the end of a two-hour presentation Tuesday morning to 65 kids with FASD and their teachers and parents at the Canad Inns Polo Park, the Calgary personality had already chalked up one major feat: He got their attention.
The entire audience, including kids who can't concentrate, were riveted to their seats. And more than a few said afterward Himmelreich's life story offered them something they needed to hear.
"It's really inspiring. It's tough to live like this," said John Budgen, 13.
John was at the conference with his mother and a brother, who like him also has FASD. "I can relate," nodded John's brother, Steffan, 14.
The 13-year-old then held out a laminated piece of paper with a typed message and a puzzle piece attached to it and read the typed words out loud as if the words explained everything.
"Look, it says it right here," John said, reading, "We are a human puzzle and we didn't get all the pieces when we were born. It is up to us to find the other pieces and complete ourselves."