Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
The Power of Words is a twelve minute DVD that showcases the differences between how the world views a person on the autism spectrum and how they actually feel about the words that have been utilized over time to describe their very existence.
This is all done through words appearing on the screen. The text pops out in a jolt like fashion that has a sensory overload feel to it, maybe done on purpose to accentuate the feelings those on the autism spectrum have in regard to these powerful words that can make or break a person.
While viewing The Power of Words it feels like someone has cut and pasted colored lines of text and placed them neatly on the screen. At first this was a bit distracting from the message of these words that convey such a range of emotion.
I repeatedly pressed the pause button to write the phrases down, while taking the time to read through the text to grasp the enormity of the underlying message. The subtitle how we talk about people with autism spectrum disorders matters! says it all.
These insights were written by Judy Endow, MSW, a parent of a grown son on the autism spectrum, as well as being on the spectrum herself. The examples within The Power of Words were from her own life experiences. Her son Daniel composed and performed the background music in The Power of Words. My teenage son Nicholas is on the autism spectrum and thought the music was calming and mellow. He got up and paced around while it was on.
The viewer gets a sense of how a person with autism feels being compared to "normal" people. Starting off with the written message that 1 in 150 have autism. "149 talk about the 1 with autism. They are the 1. We take a break. They go off task. We have hobbies. They self stim. We change our minds. They have short attention spans."
The contrast in how the words for one group are proactive with the 1 being negative and all alone out there to fend for themselves is alarming. For years now I have found it difficult to read viewer comments within the media at websites where a story somehow relates to a family with someone on the autism spectrum. Those outside of the autism community do not seem to get it at times and are quick to judge us, but at the same time there is such discord within our own community, which leaves those on the spectrum vulnerable to more public scrutiny.
It is time to start realizing how effective words can be to a community or devastating to one person. The following are some of the powerful phrases I wanted to share:
"What you say and how you say it really does matter."
"When you have autism you are not supposed to voice a different opinion, and if you do - they say you are non-compliant."
"I'm not allowed to insist. I have autism. I tantrum."
"Perhaps a person with autism is not allowed to love anyone."
"Is it bad of me to want friends?"
"I don't care. I love my fixation."
"What is normal?"
"It is your language that holds the power."
"How will you speak about me?"
"How will you use your power?"
Everyone should take the fifteen minutes needed to grasp The Power of Words and take stock in how vital communication is in our society. All persons need to be accepted and treated with respect and dignity.
On a personal level I do not engage with those who only want to discuss why my children are on the autism spectrum. I ceased contact with my own parents ten years ago due to their negativity toward my family unit. Adulthood is on the horizon and that is our focus. My motto has always been to promote positive autism awareness to the general public. The real autism experts are those who are actually autistic or as some prefer on the autism spectrum.
This is a DVD that needs to be viewed by families, therapists, teachers, librarians, siblings, neighbors and all those who can spare fifteen minutes to learn to be an effective communicator through The Power of Words
I was sent a copy of the DVD to review from Autism Asperger Publishing Company. I have purchased many books from them over the years and continue to do so. I am very pleased to have this DVD in my autism collection.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.