Irish Boy With Autism Explains What It's Like For Autism Awareness Month — VIDEO

Recently James Kavanagh, an Irish PR professional and popular snapchatter, teamed up with his 13-year-old nephew, Sean, to make a video in honor of Autism Awareness Month. In the video, Sean gives his perspective on what it’s like to have autism with humor and clarity. Throughout the video, Kavanagh and Sean manage to be both super charming and really informative about what autism is like and how best to make people with autism feel comfortable and respected. It's no surprise that the video has gone viral since Kavanagh posted it on Facebook on April 17, racking up nearly 300,000 views so far.

Kavanagh begins the video by asking Sean to describe what having autism means for him, personally. Sean explains that he was diagnosed with atypical autism as a child. He had trouble with speech at a young age and had to undergo speech therapy; he began speaking more frequently at the age of 5 or 6. He says that, like many autistic people, he deals with sensory issues, as well as a need for personal space. “Stuff like loud noises and loud music just really get to me,” he explains. “… It makes me a bit uncomfortable when people are a bit too close to me, and I get sometimes uncomfortable when other people who aren’t my family hug me.” Sean also emphasizes that there is a real range of experience when it comes to autism, and that every autistic person is different.

At the end of the video, Kavanagh asks Sean, “Do you have any suggestions on what people without autism can do in life to help people like you with autism?” Sean responds, “One of the most important things is be understanding. Try to let them into your activities.” He emphasizes that language is very important, saying, “Always use literal language, never be sarcastic. Some kids with autism don’t get sarcasm or irony.” He also suggests that people be conscious of their sensory environment, as some kids with autism can be easily overwhelmed by sensory information.

He concludes, “Most important, just understand that they’re different, and they see the world in their own perspective.”

To learn more about autism spectrum disorders — which affect an estimated 3.5 million Americans — and Autism Awareness Month, visit the Autism Society.

Images: James Kavanagh/Facebook