PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – She’s a YouTube sensation with a video she created two years ago to help teens understand autism, and she stopped by Children’s Hospital on Friday to be part of a conversation about inclusion.
Alexandra Jackman’s 14-minute documentary “A Teen’s Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism” went viral two years ago and has more than 71,000 views on YouTube.
“I initially made it with the target audience of teens, so people kind of my age and middle school and high school because I hadn’t seen a resource like that, and I wanted to do something that was relatable, with lots of ‘how would you feel’ situations.”
The goal, she says, is to educate her peers about autism:
“I’ve been working with people with special needs since I was ten years old and I just met so many incredible people with autism and other special needs through these organizations, so from there these amazing people I met made me just want to get involved and start advocating and spread the word of acceptance and teach people about autism, because I realized so many people just didn’t know. ”
She visited CHOP for a Q&A with patients and families.
“I think that Autism isn’t who a person is, it’s what they have and it’s a person WITH a special need, it’s not THE special need is the person. I think just everybody should realize and be aware there are some differences, but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting to know a person with a special need.”
As for the future, Alexandra — still in high school — is working with the autism center at Montclair State University to develop a curriculum around the video. She also hosts teen nights for people with special needs in New Jersey.