Video Teaches How to Communicate with Autistic Students

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- April is Autism Awareness Month, and many organizations are trying to make people more aware of what autism is and how to interact with a person who has the condition.

The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training produced three videos to help inform and educate people on autism.

One actor in the video has a personal reason for taking part.

Brandon Parnes, 17, can play the piano simply by memory and by ear.

"Since I was two, I first saw Ricky Martin on the Rosie O'Donnell show, and after his routine, I basically got up and did the whole thing again."

Music comes easy to him, but making friends doesn't.

"I'm not afraid to make friends, it's just difficult for me to do," Brandon said.

Brandon has Asperger's, a form of autism, and he says it often makes him a target.

"I have gotten bullied because of how different I am," Brandon said.

That's why he was so excited to be part of a video produced by the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (KCART).

It stars Brandon and his friends in the drama department at Olathe Northwest. The video teaches people about how those with autism communicate.

The goal with the video is to make it simple for teens to understand how to include people with autism, which means they may need to do things they don't have to do with other friends.

"A lot of times, kids are afraid to re-direct one of their peers or to give a very simple straightforward concrete suggestion, but for a person with Asperger's, that can be very helpful, said Sean Swindler, Director of KCART.

"Once they realize what kids with Asperger's and autism are going through, they'll just realize- hey i go through those same struggles every day, there's no reason to pick on them."

The three videos were sponsored by the Kansas City Young Matrons Service Organization. For more information on an upcoming fundraiser for autism research in Kansas and Missouri, click here.

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