Meet the guy Highlighting Neurodiversity in the Digital World
Chris was gonna write a book. Instead he accidentally created a multimedia movement that has taken him all over the world.
The story started when national news media picked up a video that Chris made on his Facebook page. Chris was starting every day in his special needs classroom at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida with 10 minutes of compliments. He-- the teacher-- was personally complimenting something about each child every single morning. And it was seriously improving the kids’ confidence and classroom performance.
Chris was trying to gain momentum for a book about his students. Instead he started a movement. And each day after his first post went viral, he posted about the students in his exceptional class and their progress as they learned to overcome social obstacles and become more confident.
Then he expanded beyond his classroom.
Now Chris travels the world interviewing kids with special needs. He wants to normalize neurodiversity and help people understand how to engage the neurodiverse community instead of segregating and outcasting them.
Chris’s movement is still called “Special Books by Special Kids” though the movement has largely become virtual. The mission statement describes it as “a multimedia movement that spreads empathy, understanding and acceptance for neurodiverse individuals.”
Chris has built a massive following (more than 900K followers on Facebook alone) and he features daily videos of himself interacting with a neurodiverse person.
His videos have shed light on many ultra-rare conditions and helped to humanize the people diagnosed with them. The best tool for this is laughter, which is part of almost every interview. This isn't inspiration porn. There's no pity. Just celebration of lives.
His positivity is infectious. His patience is inspiring. His videos make empathy the easiest response. There is no stretch of the imagination required to put yourself in the shoes of Colin, a young man with Down Syndrome who is dealing with his first heartbreak.
Or a young boy with Autism who loves video games and bro time just as much as his peers and these interactions can be a great way to help him develop valuable social skills.
Of course, you know what they say "behind every good man is a strong woman." Chris's girlfriend Alyssa recently quit her job to help manage this ever growing project.
With the enthusiasm, engagement, and recognition Chris is gaining, we think that this could spin out into a worldwide movement for empathy and acceptance. Plus, his videos are just fun.
Creative Community Director at Snapfluence.
There is often a pen stuck in my hair.