Autism Awareness Month: Raising autism awareness through Snapchat

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Snapchat show of an autistic teen is going viral for the awesome reason

The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate this, an Irish man, James Kavanagh, and his 13-year-old nephew Sean, who is living with autism, made a funny yet touching video that was posted on Kavanagh’s Snapchat. This ‘Autism Awareness Snapchat Show’ talks about what autism is in a glimpse.

During this five minutes’ video, Kavanagh and Sean discussed a bunch range of topics, but most of them are being focused on how autistic people communicate with others and relationships. This viral video also gave watchers a peek on Sean’s life and the challenges that he, as a boy dealing with autism, faces on a daily basis.

Autism is not an unfamiliar term to many people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism. In Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that in 2012 there was an estimated of 115,400 citizens had autism, which was a 79% increased from 64,000 people estimated to have autism in 2009.

Autism is not something that people should be ashamed of. Autistic people just see the world in a different way to how regular people do. In this video, Sean also makes it clear that not all autistic children suffer from intellectual disabilities. Many autistic people have their own special traits and highly focused interests. For example, Sean said that his IQ test score is 120, which is above average for both children and adults. “Autistic kids are quite intelligent and they’re very good on certain topic. My specialty is probably spelling and maths”, said Sean. Although many autistic people have difficulties interacting and communicating with other people, these sort of things can be taught to people with autism.

Bullying autistic kids is still common in society these days. Autistic kids may be intentionally triggered by their bullies into having meltdowns. Almost two-thirds of autistic children are bullied at some point in their lives. However, not only children but adults also face the same challenge.

Autistic people are different, and that is okay. People should realize that we should not be forcing autistic kids into living in our world, but we should be the one who is adapting to their situation. Like Sean, autistic people are interesting and wonderful people, we just have to find a way to get to know them better. Trying to include them, be more understanding, and aware of their environment are the things that we can do to get to know them better. Like Sean advised in the video, “Some kids with autism don’t get sarcasm and irony and also be aware of your sensory environment because they can be sensitive to some things.” Sean also added that “most importantly just understand that they’re different and they see the world in their own perspective.”

There is a saying that goes like this: ‘If you’ve met one person with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), you’ve met one person with ASD.’ This means that there are no two people with autism who are alike. Even though each individual with autism has difficulties with communication and social interaction, each and every one of them has a unique combination of characteristics which makes them fascinating and different.

The United Nations has declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day. In some places, people celebrate this day by lighting up some of the iconic landmarks in blue. For example, in Sydney, they Sydney Opera House lit up a beautiful blue color to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. The awareness month is an opportunity to recognize the 1 in 100 individuals on the spectrum, their abilities, their strengths, and their contribution to our community. Today, there is a growing number of organizsydneyations supporting the autistic community by giving them the educational programs to the families, professionals, and the broader community. This educational programs can provide additional services that include information and advice, diagnostic assessments, and even behavior support for the family and the diagnosed children. These organizations are also targeted on empowering parents and carers with information and resources that are needed to support the autistic community.

You can watch the full video of James Kavanagh and Sean here.


Isabella Reharta