“Being autistic, to me, means I’m a little different than the norm.” “An unusual type of wiring in the brain.” “It makes me different and unique.” Those are just three of the ways that Ivymount School students answered the question, “What is Autism to me?”
Several students are part of a project called Voices of Autism, just published online by AdLit. The video interview project features young people from Ivymount School and The Auburn School in Chantilly, VA giving their own unique perspectives on what it means to be autistic — at school and at home. A video crew spent a day at Ivymount School in October 2023, interviewing a variety of students who described their experiences, strengths, challenges, and interests.
“They say no two people with autism are the same, but in truth no two people at all are the same.”
They share their thoughts about communication challenges, sensory overload, being underestimated and standing out from others. The students describe what they want people to know about them, including that they’re sensitive and sweet, helpful, kind, courageous, independent, happy and proud. And they also share their dreams for the future, including eventually working in jobs such as construction and voice acting.
“Watching the interviews, we can really see how these young people shine when they have the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings,” says Susan Holt, Ivymount Executive Director. “It’s exciting to know that their voices will help bring greater understanding about neurodiversity and have a wide audience by being featured on a nationally known and respected media and educational organization.”
AdLit is a multimedia project offering information and resources to parents and educators. It’s a service of WETA-TV, the flagship PBS station in Washington, D.C. WETA Learning Media also produces educational websites such as Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado, and LD OnLine. The producers noted that stories about autism typically include comment from researchers, teachers, and parents, but rarely offer a child’s perspective. They approached Ivymount, knowing of our six decades-long mission of working with neurodiverse students and their families. In one of the videos, students describe some of the strategies and technology they work on with staff while at school.
“It makes me different and unique.”
Voices of Autism includes eight short videos on the following topics:
- What is Autism to me?
- What it feels like to be me
- What I think most people misunderstand
- What helps me do better in school
- Things I like to do
- What I’d like to do as an adult
- Two Ivymount School students are also featured in separate videos – Sully’s Voice and Ricky’s Voice
Want to hear from more Ivymount School students? Check out our YouTube channel to watch students give their Perspectives on Neurodiversity from 2021 and this video from 2019 of students describing their wishes for themselves.