When a child is having a meltdown in the middle of a busy shopping centre or acting strange or anxious, it’s easy for strangers to dismiss the behaviour as naughty. Now a powerful new video delivers a simple message from that child to help us understand: “I’m not naughty. I’m autistic”.
The saturation of new sights, smells and sounds can easily overwhelm a child with autism, causing extreme reactions that can be seen as bad behaviour by other people. But the video, released by The National Autistic Society in the UK, hopes to help people comprehend what’s going on inside the head of a child with the disorder.
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects the way an individual relates to their environment and their interaction with others.
As many as one in 100 Australians are on the autism spectrum, or up to 240,000 people, according to Autism Spectrum Australia.
Autism affects almost four times as many boys than girls. It is not known what causes autism but it is known that genetics plays a part.
The Too Much Information campaign video shows how a minute in a busy shopping centre can be terrifying for a child with autism. The society hopes it will allow the public to find out how they can change their behaviour and help open up the world to autistic people.
“When this happens, the public can misunderstand what is happening and tut, stare or make hurtful remarks to the family, which makes the situation much, much worse, and, gradually stops autistic people and their families feeling that they can leave the house,” the campaign information says.
Instead of passing judgment, does watching this video make you empathise instead? Take a look here.
The video has been viewed more than 1.9 million times, changing the way many people perceive the disorder. It would seem things are slowly improving for autism awareness, with Sesame Street introducing a character with autism to the long-running children’s show last year.