National Autism Awareness Month

They Made A Mini Blockbuster At Home So Their Son With Autism Would Have A 'Store' To Visit

All his favorite movies in one place.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate and bring awareness throughout the month, we will be highlighting positive stories we love about people with autism, as well as the stories of their friends and families. 

Hector Andres Zuniga has always loved the Blockbuster video store. The 20-year-old, who has autism, has been going to his local Blockbuster in Sharyland, Texas to rent his favorite films a couple of times a week since he was 13.

Therefore, when Zuniga's mom, Rosa, was told by an employee that their local Blockbuster would be closing following the brand's long bankruptcy, she knew she needed to do something so her son's routine wouldn't be disrupted. Routines and repetitive patterns are helpful to those on the autism spectrum and something as significant as giving up Zuniga's twice-weekly Blockbuster visits could have had a big impact on him.

After informing her husband, Hector Sr., that the store was closing, they came up with the idea to recreate a mini Blockbuster in their home.

Ahead of the store's closing, Blockbuster began to sell off its merchandise so the Zunigas starting to purchase signs, shelves, and some of their son's favorite movies. Blockbuster employees also helped the family out by setting aside things they knew Hector Andres Zuniga liked.

When the family's local Blockbuster shut its doors for good on the weekend, they presented their son with the mini Blockbuster "store" they had created at home. Hector Andres Zuniga's brother, Javier, tweeted photos of his non-verbal brother's reaction, and the tweet has gone viral.

The tweet was shared on April 23 and it has been liked over 125,000 times and retweeted over 32,000 times. Many are writing about what a thoughtful gesture it was while others are emphasizing how important it is for those with autism to stick with a routine.

Hector Sr. told HuffPost about his son's reaction to seeing the empty Blockbuster before it closed then seeing all of his favorite films on Blockbuster shelves at home.

"It's hard for my son to express emotions, but when he saw the room, his eyes were as big as saucers."

He added, "His way of saying 'I love you' is by going up to you and grabbing your earlobe. So, he came up to me [after seeing the Blockbuster room] and grabbed my ear ... it is one of those moments that us parents live for."

(H/T: Refinery29)

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