My 10-year-old son decided to create a short video describing his experience as an autistic person. After all, who better to explain autism than someone who is actually autistic? The video is a simple, honest, and even funny description that is less than two minutes and was created using the program Scratch. Yes, he did all the writing, drawing, and coding by himself.
(audio transcript at the bottom of the post)
Alex loves to draw, as he stated in the video. For your reading amusement, here is a comic that was included in the video:
I am incredibly proud of my son, not only for his creativity but also for his bravery and willingness to share his story. In the video he talks about his strengths and is also honest about some of the struggles that he has experienced. He even explains a bit about sensory issues (as seen above) and stimming. I was brought to tears by his insights at the end about “the secret to a good life.” .
He makes me laugh all the time. I love and admire his unique personality, individuality, and free spirit. I am inspired by the passionate way he experiences life. Everything he does and feels is with every fiber of his being.
Some of you may have “met” him in the past when a video of his enthusiastic reaction to a sea lion who wanted to play traveled the interwebs. In it he declares, “THIS IS THE BEST THING OF MY LIFE!” (Note: He needed a little coaching to understand how the sea lion wanted to follow him, & that’s why you hear me talking so much at first. Once they “got” each other they had a ton of fun playing, and Alex’s brother joined in, too.)
I have always been impressed by Alex’s huge, caring heart. Bullying really bothers him, and he gets incredibly upset when he sees his peers acting in a way that seems “mean”.
Alex usually chooses to use “identity-first” language, and to him the term “autistic” simply describes why he thinks and feels the way he does. It’s not a bad word to be ashamed of, and he chose the title to the video himself. He has known about autism since he was in 1st grade (this link has a post about how I first told him), and since then he and I also have explained autism to his classmates almost every year (click here to see what was discussed with his class) . The results have been amazing, and it has helped promote a more accepting atmosphere in the classroom. His peers have really impressed me with the way they responded and understood, and we have been grateful to his teachers for encouraging such an important discussion.
This year will be extra special because we will be using Alex’s video for our yearly talk. He hopes that the message will encourage others to, “Be yourself!” and also “Be kind.”
Update: Alex’s presentation with his classmates went great! His video really seemed to help them understand. We also led a demonstration that simulated the challenges of paying attention when faced with sensory overload.
The local news also decided to come watch so they could help share the message. http://wric.com/2017/04/03/henrico-boy-creates-video-to-give-people-a-look-at-autism-through-his-eyes/
Thank you for taking the time to watch Alex’s video, and please feel free to share it! This video was created with the purpose of helping explain autism to others, and he is proud to help promote acceptance and understanding. He also would love to know what you thought of it, so comments are welcomed. 🙂
This post has been approved by Alex.
The video has also been posted to our Facebook page:
~Jennifer Roberts Bittner
TRANSCRIPT: Hi, my name is Alex, and this is my story. Some of my favorite hobbies are playing video games and drawing. I’ve been creating comics for a very long time. I am very good at math and coding. I’m very funny, kind, and smart. I also have Autism.
Autism affects me in many ways. It makes me think different. Sometimes in math I would solve problems in ways that even my teachers didn’t think of. You’d think they would know it, but… NO! 😉
Sometimes when I need to think, I pace. It helps me concentrate and it’s called stimming. My teachers let me do this because it helps me think.
Autism makes me a very picky eater. I like crunchy foods, and I don’t like mushy foods because they make me gag. The texture of the food bothers my senses.
My senses are supercharged, and sometimes that makes me feel uncomfortable. I drew this comic to show about how I feel about cold water at the pool. I’ll give you a second to read it.
Sometimes I get really overwhelmed by bad feelings and I just want people to be understanding and patient.
It’s okay to be different. However, some people don’t treat different people very nicely. And *phhhbbt* there’s just so much NO with that decision! I wish people would treat different people completely normally.
Being different makes the world more diverse. If everyone was the same then the world would not be very interesting.
I think that the secret to a good life is to just “You Be You.” Pick your path and accept others for which path they choose.
That is my story.