This moving video showcases a heartwarming example of a 16-year-old with autism and his father communicating in their own special language.
In the clip Chadd Wickert talks to his son, Chase, about what he wants to do that day.
Like any teenager, Chase wants to play at his friend’s house. But his dad has other plans, and instead Chase brushes up on his multiplication tables and spelling practices.
The father-son interaction highlights how Chase communicates, and Chadd reminds viewers that autistic children, like his son, have their own ways of expressing their feelings.
HOW COMMON IS AUTISM?
According to the CDC one in every 68 children in the US has autism.
Autism occurs among all racial and socioeconomic groups.
However, it is more common for boys, affecting them four-and-a-half times as much as girls.
While autism can be diagnosed at age two, most children are not diagnosed until they are four or older.
Each year, the US spends between $11 and $60 billion dollars on medical treatments for children with autism.
While no cure exists for children with the disability, certain steps can be taken to maximize a child with autism’s ability to function.
These treatments can include therapy and medications to lessen their anxiety, among other things.
The 10-minute video features the father-son duo, from Illinois, discussing their plans for the day and practicing math and spelling drills.
Even though Chase’s responses to his dad’s questions do not always seem like obvious answers, Chadd interprets them and explains to viewers exactly what his son is trying to say.
Chadd says: ‘This is a great video for anyone out there who is studying autism.’
He continues, explaining the significance of this conversation, saying: ‘There are times when the autistic individual is…very able to communicate and to have a conversation in their own kind of weird, strange, different way.’
During their chat, Chase tells his father that he wants to play with Nerf guns at his friend Jerry’s house. ‘That’s what he’s telling me,’ his father says, explaining his son’s phrases.
‘And, just like any teenager, he’s persistent. He won’t take “no” for an answer,’ Chadd jokes, referring to his son’s request to go play.
Instead of Nerf guns, though, Chase is quizzed on spelling and multiplication, which his father says he has been working on.
Chadd Wickert (right) says that the video of his son Chase (left) having a conversation with him provides an insight into the way children with autism communicate ‘in their own way’
Chadd teases him when he goofs off and high-fives him when he answers questions correctly. He asks Chase to spell words such as ‘dinosaur’, ‘blossom’ and ‘medicine’, which he does enthusiastically.
While his father his drilling him, Chase offers to spell the word ‘cat’, but he does not get off the hook that easily.
‘”Cat” is an easy word!’ Chadd says.
The video Chadd made provides an example of a child with autism’s way of expressing himself to his father.
Children with the disability fall on a spectrum: some can carry out extensive conversations while others have a harder time putting words together.
Since some autistic children experience difficulties communicating, people approaching these individuals should take some simple steps to put them at ease when conversing with them, according to the National Autistic Society.
It is important to say the name of the individual with autism who you are speaking to before you being talking so that they know to pay attention to what you say.
Additionally, speaking about their interests or hobbies can engage them and make their connection to you easier.
The association also recommends not posing too many questions to autistic individuals, as the information overload can be hard on them.
And they advise against using figurative language, since children with autism sometimes take things too literally. Because of that, it is best to avoid sarcasm, irony, exaggerations and rhetorical questions.
Some of the ways people with autism communicate if they do not do so verbally include the following: gestures, moving your hand to an object they want, using pictures, looking at an object they want and crying.