Motivational Speaker and Autism Advocate Finds Joy by Sharing His “Benergy” with Others

“Be Kind to All.” These are the words motivational speaker and autism advocate Ben Hartranft lives by. Diagnosed with autism at a very young age after his mother noticed him “swinging from the chandeliers,” Ben, now 24, takes every chance he can to share his message of acceptance and inclusion. And to show the world that living with autism has not held him back in life.

“Autism is not a bad thing. It doesn’t characterize who we are. Everyone is unique,” he says. 

Ben and Mom

In fact, Ben thinks of autism as his “superpower,” not his weakness. It’s been that way his whole life. He has always had a highly supportive family who made sure he got the care and resources he needed growing up. His mother, Sandy Hartranft, has become a leading advocate and ally and recently published a book titled “Swinging from the Chandelier: Finding Joy in the Journey Through Autism.” In her book, Sandy, who is an RN, shares the highs and the lows of that journey. 

A big part of that journey today is public speaking and advocacy, bringing awareness to classrooms and assemblies around the region. Ben relays how much he has done in his young life, highlights which include an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Price Is Right.” Nothing is going to get in the way of realizing his dreams.

He has certainly come a long way in a short time. When he was diagnosed, around the age of two, he knew only about 20 words. It was not certain that he would be able to read and write, but he never gave up. He was extremely motivated and eventually began fundraising for the Eagles Autism Challenge. As a result of the success of that effort, he was invited to be a guest on an episode of the “Ellen” show to promote autism awareness. 

His dream to take awareness into action continues to this day. “I am going to schools, businesses and organizations sharing my story. Advocating for inclusion and kindness has shaped my life with autism. I want everyone to know that one kind person can change the world. Go out and be the one!”

“His energy is contagious,” adds Sandy. “He is gifted at talking to people. He is fearless and will talk to anyone.”

To read more about Ben’s inspiring story, or to purchase the book, visit

Book and Website
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