When you hear the term autism, what do you think? Perhaps someone who is different to you, or someone who knows the dictionary backwards.
YouTube star Mark Rober might just have delivered the most perfect definition, offering touching insight into what it means to live life on the spectrum.
For those of you who don’t know, Mark is a former NASA and Apple engineer turned online sensation, with a casual 18million subscribers.
He also happens to have a son with autism.
Despite posting videos on his channel for nearly a decade, Mark has always kept his child out of the spotlight – until now.
Today, he is excited to shine a light on autism and has released a video that was actually filmed two years ago before Mark felt ready to share it with the world.
In the 10-minute mini movie, Mark delves into what it means to have autism, saying that people with the condition “don’t have a filter in their brain like the rest of us”.
This means that while people without autism tend to ignore everything around them to focus on a conversation or task, people with autism can’t, consequently experiencing sensory overload as they struggle to focus with the vast array of noise and activity going on around them.
Ordinarily, autism is very hard to define as it affects everyone differently, although it is widely believed to be a neurological disorder that results in development difficulties that can impact communication and social interactions.
In the video, Mark talks more specifically about his son too, and that he loves to ask house guests what their favourite colour is so that once they have left he can create a unique drawing in their chosen colour before writing a personal letter on the back and sending it in the post.
Speaking from the heart, Mark also said that society should look up to people with special needs rather than the other way around.
Mark said: “I think we can all agree that a successful life is one where you leave the world better than you found it, sort of a net positive effect due to your influence.
“There’s a lot of ‘normal functioning’ people who are critical and seek to tear others down, or who have made a tonne of money but are just terrible, and by my definition they’re not successful.”
Mark added: “People with special needs might not fit the traditional criteria of success by benefiting GDP or getting a PHD to cure disease, but they have such a net positive effect on the people that get to interact with them.”
The science whizz, 41, also said that people with special needs ground the rest of us as they remind folk of the simple joys that life can offer and that things don’t have to be that complicated.
Reflecting on his little boy, Mark concluded: “My son won’t be the first person to step on Mars, nor will he invent the cure for cancer, but by the best definition of success I can think of, him and his special needs buddies are giants living amongst us mere mortals.
“They make the world a better place and we’re lucky to have them.”
Check out the beautiful video below: