A seemingly simple video is offering an important message about autism.
On March 8, mom and blogger Mandy Farmer posted a video of her 6-year-old son zipping his jacket on Facebook. In the caption, she opened up about the significance of this small task for her family.
“You know how we say autism families don’t take things for granted? This is what we mean,” Farmer wrote.
The mom said her son’s fine motor skills lag behind those of other kids his age. He can’t write or draw a square and struggles with self-care tasks like opening packages, getting dressed and feeding himself with utensils.
“People have no idea how hard our kids have to work to be able to accomplish these tasks consistently,” Farmer wrote. “There are so many therapies that can help, but so many do not have access to those therapies. He has been doing this program for about a month and is now zipping independently, but I want you to be mindful of how much effort it still takes.”
The mom concluded her post by noting that this type of milestone is the result of giving kids with special needs the opportunity to reach a higher potential.
“The policy makers, school districts and insurance companies that refuse to invest in these therapies now are keeping these amazing individuals from becoming the most independent version of themselves,” she wrote. “It is so exciting to see him meet these milestones, even if they’re met on a different timeline than that of his peers.”
The video reached over 100,000 views on Facebook. The popular Love What Matters page also shared the post, giving it another 220,000 views.
Farmer told The Huffington Post that it has been wonderful to see the overwhelming response to the video. The mom hopes it puts things into perspective for people to see how hard her son works to accomplish tasks that most people take for granted.
While some people see him and think he’s doing pretty well for someone his age with autism, onlookers don’t always realize the countless hours of therapy it took to get him to that point.
“We can tell people that it’s still hard for him to use a spoon at 6 years old and that he still can’t use a fork. We can tell people he still can’t dress himself independently or snap his pants,” she explained. “But I think watching this video clip of how much effort, determination and perseverance he puts in to zip a zipper says it better than I ever could.”
Farmer is also happy that her video can help raise awareness about individuals on the spectrum. “I hope legislators will see this and realize when they slash education funds, early intervention funds and Medicaid funds, these are the people they are hurting ― people who have all of the potential in the world if they are given the right tools to reach that potential,” she said.
“I hope insurance companies see this and realize that when they deny an autistic child or child with dyspraxia or cerebral palsy therapy, this is the progress they are impeding,” she continued. “I hope therapists and special educators will see it and be proud that they make such a difference in autistic individuals’ lives. And I hope others with children with special needs will be encouraged and know that milestones will come in their own time and with hard work the impossible is possible.”
Follow the mom’s Facebook page, “From Motherhood by Mandy Farmer,” to learn more about the reality of raising a child with autism.