More

Experience 60 seconds of how it feels to live with autism.

Sensory sensitivity is just one battle someone with autism may face every day.

Certain things can drive me up a wall.

Like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet.


Make it stop already! GIFs via the National Autistic Society/YouTube.

Or deafening, nonstop police sirens outside my window that just. won't. quit.

Nope, nope, nope.

That's why a video made by the U.K.-based National Autistic Society really struck a chord with me.

For the first time, I was able to get a glimpse into the world as it's experienced by many who have autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — a developmental condition that can hinder a person's social, emotional, or communication skills.

A lot of these folks experience sensory sensitivity, which makes it hard to process sensory information like sounds, sights, or tastes.

For someone who has ASD, a sound (like those obnoxious police sirens I mentioned earlier) can be magnified and distorted. Or a fabric used for everyday clothing might feel very uncomfortable to the touch.

To people without sensory sensitivity, those police sirens may just be annoying. But for someone with autism, hearing them could be downright painful.

Autism is more than just sensory sensitivity, though.

In case you don't know too much about ASD, here are some basic facts:

  • You can't "see" it. "There's often nothing about how people with [ASD] look that sets them apart from other people," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • It's more common than you might think. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism.
  • ASD isn't a one-size-fits-all label. "Every person with autism is different," according to a video by the National Autistic Society. "That's what makes it so difficult to understand."
  • And the verdict's still out on precisely what causes autism. No one knows for sure, but research has led doctors to believe there are likely multiple factors — environmental, biological, and genetic — that can increase the chances of a person having ASD. (And, just FYI, getting vaccines isn't one of them.)

Watching a one-minute video on sensory sensitivity certainly doesn't mean I know what having autism feels like...

...especially because having ASD can mean many different things to different people.

But watching the PSA below can really spark empathy for those who experience the world a bit differently than many of us.

Check out the video by the National Autistic Society below:

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

LEGO recently unveiled plans to roll out a set of bricks for use by the visually impaired. Using each LEGO brick's 3-by-2 grid of raised dots, the educational toy includes bricks imprinted with every letter, number, and mathematical symbol in the braille alphabet.

Why LEGOs? Well, the American Printing House for the Blind recently found that only 8.4 percent of visually impaired children read Braille, as opposed to 50 percent in 1960. With the advent of audio books and voice-to-text technology, reading and writing are becoming lost arts for the visually impaired, often for lack of resources or time — modern braille education methods include expensive "Braille writers" or a slate and stylus, both of which create text that is difficult for students to edit or erase. LEGO bricks are not only swappable, but children are already familiar with their mechanics!

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a badass in the movies, but he's increasingly building a reputation as a heroic "action star" in real life. Only, instead of dropping ungodly amounts of fake bullets into his enemies, Schwarzenegger has been dropping rhetorical bombs against his political opponents while building intellectual and emotional bridges to those who disagree with him but still have open hearts and minds.

The most recent example found Arnold responding to a comment someone made on Facebook. On the surface, that may sound like just about the least unique or original jumping off point for a story.




Keep Reading Show less

In a year where Major League Baseball has been delayed, the 2020 Olympics have been postponed, and the NBA season has been moved to something called a "bubble," a new sport has emerged as the ultimate athletic challenge in our COVID-19 world, at least for one British woman.

"Peak bagging" is an activity where hikers, mountaineers, and sometimes runners attempt to reach the summit of every mountaintop in a published list of peaks, and Sabrina Verjee, a British ultra runner, has just become the first woman to complete the 318 mile route through the 214 English peaks known as the "Wainwrights." Oh, and she did it with a bum knee.

The 39-year-old veterinary surgeon ascended over 35,000 meters on her run, completing the trek in just 6 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes, just eleven hours short of the record, which was broken last year. She completed the race on July 12th, after beginning it on the 6th, and plans to do it again in the near future. When she finished there were two previous Wainwright record holders, Joss Naylor and Steve Birkinshaw, waiting to congratulate her at the finish line.


Keep Reading Show less