What Can You Learn From “My Brother Is Autistic?”

I just finished listening to Royan Lee‘s amazing TED Talk on My Brother Is Autistic. Royan is an educator that has inspired me since I joined Twitter almost seven years ago. It was through his blog that I learnt about his brother, and the impact that this relationship had on him and his teaching career. I would encourage all educators, administrators, and parents to watch this TED Talk, as I think that it speaks to more than just having a brother with autism. 

  • It speaks to acceptance.
  • It speaks to the importance of diversity.
  • It speaks to the value in advocacy.
  • It speaks to the power of relationships.
  • It speaks to the importance of positivity.
  • It speaks to the greatness of all students, and what we can learn from even our most challenging experiences and challenging students.
  • It speaks to the importance of seeing beyond a “label.”
  • It speaks about love: from a personal and a professional standpoint.

My experiences may vary from Royan’s, but these messages are ones that I can connect with, and are great reminders of some things that I think matter most in education and in life. What do you think? What did you learn from this TED Talk, and what impact do you think that it will have on your personal and/or professional practices? I would love to hear! 


6 thoughts on “What Can You Learn From “My Brother Is Autistic?”

  1. Thank you for introducing me to this amazing TEDTalk from Royan Lee. I will definetly have to check his blog and on Twitter. His journey that he shares gives me so much to think about as I would like to think that I too continue to evolve in my outlook and understanding. I cringed at some of his statements that people and educators (myself as well) have made in reference to “I could never do this” and “You are a saint.” So I share this post I wrote about looking at children differently. Thank you for continuing pushing so that we all benefit from each other’s reflections.

    • Thanks for your comment, Faige, and for sharing your post! I’m definitely going to go and check it out. I have also made similar comments before — to the ones that Royan mentioned in his post– and now those same words also make me cringe. Last year, I wrote a post about how we’re all “special education teachers” (http://adunsiger.com/2015/10/04/are-we-all-special-ed-teachers/), and Royan’s TED Talk reminded me of this post (which was actually inspired by another post of Royan’s around the fact that “we need to stop telling all special education teachers that they’re saints”). I think that Royan’s message in his TED Talk and in this other blog post of this (http://royanlee.com/?p=4591) is on that needs to be repeated.


  2. Just read both posts you shared with such valid concerns and thoughts. I was reminded me of a graphic I saw on Twitter about what’s Fair. I’ll try to find it & tweet it to you.

    • Thank you, Faige! I loved the graphic. I’ve actually expressed similar sentiments on “fairness” before when talking with our kindergartners. This is what “equity” is all about.


  3. Thanks for writing this. It’s always great to hear/read people’s takeaways from a personal story. I would love to read more about how your own story converges and diverges from mine.

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