I use TED talks often for teaching because they are generally short enough for my digital age students to attend to, give interesting and multiple perspectives on a topic, and I can often find a variety of professional scientists sharing new facts. Recently, I was lead by a friend to a TEDx he wanted to share. TEDx is an independently organized series of TED talks by a local community or organization. This one was, of course, about autism. There are several talks by people who work with those with autism, have autism, have someone with autism in their family and so on. After working in the field of autism for 30 years, the talks weren’t all that unique to me. What fascinated me the most is the comments people made after watching different talks! You can see the daily struggles those with autism face along with their families, their caregivers and their advocates. We have reached an apex in the field where we applaud neurodiversity while wanting better therapy and services. We know what kids need in schools and still haven’t found a way to provide it in many areas of our country. We see success in adults with autism in multiple ways, yet still see rejection and idle living situations pervasive in many places. Although that is very frustrating to me as a professional and advocate, I am enthralled by the passion this topic creates. Check it out for yourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6-PwVuYy2Y or, go to Youtube, search for TEDx autism.
Dr. Susan Larson Kidd
An educational and behavioral consultant with over 25 years of experience in special education.