It is hard to overstate the importance of listening to individuals on the autism spectrum explaining how they view and experience the world. Listening to such advocates like Alex has informed how we present autism, in the light of acceptance rather than simply awareness. We applaud Alex for his creatively and insight and encourage everyone to share this story widely.
The following are excerpts from a blog post that Alex’s mother wrote for her blog, Seriously Not Boring.
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.
(audiotranscript at the bottom of the post)
Creativity with Scratch Video
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. His insights at the end about “the secret to a good life” brought me to tears.
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 this post himself. He has known about autism since he was in 1st grade, and since then he and I also have explained autism to his classmates almost every year. 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 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.
Autism Acceptance Covered by the Local News
Alex’s presentation was covered by a local news affiliate. Here is the video of the event: