Westfield teenager Alexandra Jackman recently created a video aimed to
encourage teens to understand and accept those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
During Jackman’s time in the Teddy Roosevelt Scholars independent study program at Roosevelt Intermediate School last year (eight grade) she wrote and directed the video as her class project.
“The purpose of my specific project was to help teenagers be more aware and understanding of people with autism spectrum disorder,” Jackman explained. “The video is so important to me because I feel it could help anyone, especially typically-developing teens, to feel that they can interact and get to know people with autism and not be scared of the differences. People tend to be more accepting when they are more knowledgeable.”
In the video, Jackman asks middle school students and teachers “What is Autism?” many of them who are unsure. She also speaks to the founder of Autism Family Times, parents of children with Autism, an Autism educator and a doctor. She also highlights children of all ages with Autism and even adults who have Autism. Take a look at the full video.
Her video is geared towards teens, but is relatable to all ages on the basics of how to accept and understand those who have Autism Spectrum Disorder
Since age 10, Jackman has been working with the organization Autism Family Times as a peer mentor for children with Autism. She says the experience is both rewarding and eye-opening.
During the creation of the video, Jackman told Patch, "Maybe if they (middle schoolers) see someone with special needs, they won't be so afraid to talk with them. For a lot of people, if they don't understand something, they can be afraid."
Jackman is now a freshman at Westfield High School, but has said being a part of Autism Family Times has made her consider working in occupation therapy.
“Because of this (experience) I know that I definitely want to do something with special needs when I get older," she said.