In honor of Autism Awareness Month, which happens every April, Irish PR man and Snapchat star James Kavangah decided to have a chat with his 13-year-old nephew, Sean, who has Autism.
Their five minute and forty second interview has since gone viral, with almost 400,000 views on his Facebook page alone.
Sean, who’s from Tallaght, explains his journey from having trouble with speech in his early years to feeling more comfortable talking around age 6, after speech therapy. He shares how “Stuff like loud noises and loud music” still bother him, and how he doesn’t like it when people get too close to his personal space or “when other people who aren’t my family hug me.”
They also discuss the difference between Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, and Sean’s encounters with bullying in school.
Perhaps the most powerful and eye-opening part comes at the end of the video, when James asks Sean for suggestions on “what people without autism can do in life to help people like you with autism?”
Snapchat: JamesKSnaps A chat with my autistic nephew Sean. #LightItUpBlue #AutismAwarenessPosted by James Kavanagh on Sunday, April 17, 2016
Sean’s reply emphasizes inclusiveness and consideration.
“One of the most important things is be understanding. Try to let them into your activities,” he says.
“Always use literal language, never be sarcastic. Some kids with autism don’t get sarcasm or irony.”
He also reminds people to never use words like “spa” or “special” when talking about people with Autism and adds “There’s also a very bad R-word which is circling around people with special needs. Don’t ever use that.”
Most importantly, he says, “just understand that they’re different and they see the world in their own perspective.”