Your child with ASD should be watching more YouTube! Maybe not the thing you expect to hear from autism educators. We're not talking about perseveratively watching hours and hours of trains, or re-watching old Japanese animations hundreds of times. And everyone needs a break - I personally spend way too much unproductive time on the internet in general. But, there is tremendous value in watching certain videos on YouTube - videos that will help build "Cultural Literacy". This refers to having an understanding of culturally relevant media and entertainment.
Establishing Social Connections with YouTube
Autism is a social disorder at its core, which means it is going to present challenges for making meaningful connections. On top of this, many of our students become obsessed very obscure or age-inappropriate interests. This makes it even more difficult to find common ground and connect with other people. The most popular videos on YouTube have BILLIONS of views. If our students have the opportunity to be see and become familiar with these videos, we can use them as a way to establish social connections with those that have, even if our students with ASD do not love the videos.
So how do we get individuals with ASD to watch their not-favorite videos? Structure and visuals of course! Use this YouTube guide we created - go to the link below and you will find a series of funny dog videos. As your student watches them have them circle the question of what the video is about (to ensure they are attending), and also their thoughts on the video (awesome, alright, or awful). We'll be posting more of these YouTube guides - let us know what themes we should focus on!