National Autism Awareness Month

This Simple Video Of A 6-Year-Old Zipping Up His Jacket Represents Something So Very Important

"Each time I watch the video, I get tears in my eyes."

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.

Being able to do up a coat zipper is something many of us take for granted, but for mom Mandy Farmer, the seemingly simple task represented a milestone for her 6-year-old son with autism, who she refers to as "E" in a recent Facebook post shared by the Love What Matters Facebook page.

The mother, who also runs a blog called Motherhood by Mandy Farmer, added a caption explaining why it is so important to appreciate the small things, and her message, along with E's joy at successfully completing the act, has helped the video go viral. 

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"You know how we say autism families don't take things for granted? This is what we mean. E is 6.5 [years old]. Fine motor skills are so very far behind. He can't write yet or draw a square. And honestly those things don't concern me as much as the self-care fine motor issues. Opening packages, dressing, feeding himself with a utensil. People have no idea how hard our kids have to work to be able to accomplish these tasks consistently. 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. When we give our kids the opportunity they can work hard and reach a higher potential. It is so exciting to see him meet these milestones, even if they're met on a different timeline than that of his peers."

Since the video was posted on March 20, it has been viewed over 238,000 times. Many people with kids with autism or other special needs are relating to Farmer's message.

Farmer told A Plus via email that she hopes people have a greater awareness about people with autism after watching the video. "When people see this video, I hope they will see how hard things can be for autistic individuals and how much work goes into accomplishing tasks that many of us take for granted," she explains, "I hope policy-makers will see it, and understand that when they slash services and education funding for the disabled this is who they are hurting."  

"There are so many therapies that can help kids like my son reach their highest potential, but they have to have access to them. I hope other parents of special needs children will be encouraged and know that with time and hard work, their kids can meet milestones, too."

Farmer says when she watches the video, it still makes her emotional. "The moments when he gets something he's been working on for so long are indescribable. I am so proud and just elated for him. Autism parents make a big deal out of the seemingly small steps because we know how much effort each of those steps take."

"Each time I watch the video, I get tears in my eyes and I always want to cheer at the end. I know for many it may not seem like a big deal, but when that moment is the culmination of hundreds of hours and years of therapy it is cause for celebration," she stated.

In a continuation of appreciating every moment, Farmer recently shared an update on Facebook that E opened up a food package on his own for the first time. She posted a photo of him grinning ear to ear with the open package.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

Cover image via Andrea Izzotti I Shutterstock

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