Sesame Street is continuing its campaign for autism acceptance. In a recent video post, they ask a handful of teens on the autism spectrum, “What do you want kids to know?” Just as every individual’s experience with autism is unique, so is their perspective on the disorder. This week, we are excited to share with you the observations of the children and teens featured in this video.
And as always, we urge you to take the information we share and use it to spread autism acceptance in your community.
“What I want people to know about autism is that it is not always a bad thing.”
• There are many phases in the autism journey. Regardless of where you are in your journey, you have most likely considered autism “a bad thing”, a scary or burdensome thing at one point or another. With the passing of time you have hopefully reconsidered, and maybe to your surprise, discovered that autism is a blessing in your life despite its many challenges. Autism, with its every uphill battle, is a beautiful thing. We urge you to celebrate the good- the good moments, the good days, the good qualities you see in your AMAZING child, friend, parent, sibling.
“Autism is like something…it is like a talent or it is like something that is in your heart that is really most important to you.”
• To many individuals on the spectrum, autism is very important. It is the way they identify. These individuals are not, and should not be, ashamed. Autism is a talent! Think about the person you love with autism. Do they have a talent? Are they great at art? Do they enjoy cooking? Great with computers or skilled at playing an instrument? Take a moment to think of your loved one’s talent (or talents!) and celebrate them. They deserve it!
“I’m capable of making great friends.”
“Autism is only one thing about me.”
• As human beings, we are complex. We have personality traits, talents, flaws, quirks. It is important to remember that while many individuals identify with their autism diagnosis, they are not only their diagnosis. None of us is just one thing, one quality. Respect every individual as a WHOLE individual, as different not less.
“Autism makes me amazing by giving me a perspective that is different. I am smart. I have a lot to offer the world.”
• Our children with special needs are often underestimated. But why? The autism community, a community spanning ages and spectrums, is made up of capable, wise, brilliant individuals. We owe it to this community to put our faith in them and encourage others to do the same. We recently had a participant start her first job. A real, paying job. Was this individual ever underestimated? Absolutely. Does she have a lot to offer this world? Absolutely.
“To me, autism is a special thing that makes me ‘me’.”
“You’re different from everyone else which is good.”
• All of us, with or without autism, should be celebrating our differences! Our different interests, talents, weaknesses, strengths and views should ALL be celebrated! See your child’s differences as strengths. Those differences make them exactly who they are.
“It just makes you yourself no matter if you are…you can’t speak or you can’t concentrate. Just be yourself and that is what makes it good inside your heart.”
"I am just a kid!"
Sure this segment is called "What Do You Want Kids to Know?", but really this applies to any and all of us. Our kids should know these things, but so should we. Listen to the individuals interviewed in this segment, and most importantly listen to your child. Learn from them, encourage them, BELIEVE in them.
To check out more from Sesame Street, visit: http://autism.sesamestreet.org
Stay tuned, and stay up on autism!