Show#325 Interview with Peter Fifoot Young Man with Autism

Please join us tonight at 8:00 PM EST where your Host Paul Cimins talks with Peter Fifoot a young man with Autism who is truly an inspiration to us all. He is paving the way for the autism community.He has dreams and goals of being a broadcaster and he shares that with you and after listening to him you can see he has a very bright future in the industry at such a young age. He gives us insight to his many talents and abilities.So sit back a relax and enjoy the Interview.



I have been through many obstacles throughout my life. My life has been a bit more challenging than others due to my disability. When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with autism. I had problems communicating with others because first I was mute and then I would stay on one topic and not change conversations. Another problem I had was with pacing back and forth and flapping my arms when I thought of something. The district of Jefferson wanted to put me in special education but my parents fought the district and took them to court. My parents settled and I have never been in special education. I learned to read when I was 3 due to intense therapy and have always been an intelligent and energetic young person.However, I was not always adept socially. So my parents had me take ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy programs. This taught me life skills from eye contact in conversations to holding doors open. It has really helped me socially and as a young man. I have also grown more socially than neurotypicals my age. This may explain why I have numerous friends who are neurotypical and participate on track, cross country and basketball teams who all consist of neurotypical players. My hopes and dreams are to be a criminal defense lawyer or to be a commentator for a sport on a major station or be a commentator for a sports team, particularly football



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Why we Need World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. In this guest post, MN blogger Matt Davis shares what his son’s autism has meant for his family, and argues that there’s still much to do to ensure that people with an autistic spectrum disorder are treated with understanding and respect.

A year-long, punishing process of tests finally came to its conclusion with the words “autism spectrum disorder”, delivered in a paediatrician’s room. It was a tongue-twister that deliberately acted as a soft landing for the harsher truth: “your child has autism”.

The diagnosis assuaged the regular bouts of heartbreak I felt at Isaac’s regular bouts of distress. It was the alibi for his perceived anti-social behaviour. But I came to realise quite swiftly that a chasm existed between what some people knew about autism and what most people didn’t. If the condition hadn’t touched someone, it just wasn’t on their radar; autism awareness was minimal at best. On the other hand, professionals, experts and parents who had accepted their child’s diagnosis were awash with facts and immersed in the world of autism.

I joined Ambitious about Autism’s online community ‘Talk about Autism’ and quickly benefited; questions were posed and answered, discussions launched and new people nurtured with the help of its Community Champions. It became a safe haven from the everyday assault course of discrimination, generalisations, judgements, ignorance, exhaustion and difficulties that parents of children with autism battle.

So what is autism? An impossible question to answer with any semblance of brevity. For last year’s World Autism Awareness Day, Ambitious about Autism ran a Twitter campaign called ‘Autism is…’ asking everyone to share their thoughts, feelings and perspectives on what autism is to them. The answers tweeted invoked honesty, warmth, sadness and happiness – a pretty accurate flavour of what autism really is.

The campaign was such a success that the charity is repeating it this World Autism Awareness Day. I’m supporting it again because awareness is a big deal for me. Things have improved drastically over the last 20 years, but there’s still a long way to go. People just don’t know enough about autism. It affects 1 in 100 children, yet the condition is often misunderstood.

Autism’s myths are myriad. People assume Isaac won’t have eye contact, that he’ll be quiet and introverted, or that he must have mind-boggling talents. None of these statements are correct. Isaac is a boy you remember when you meet him. He is funny, inquisitive, determined – at moments tender and full of wonderment, but also unable to know his own strength at times. He loves to learn (if allowed to in his own way) and he never forgets anything.

For my family, autism has been a game-changer – but certainly not in a bad way. We don’t only have a bright, funny little boy – we have a heightened understanding of disability and other people’s needs too. For me #AutismIs heightened everything – love, sadness, stress, happiness.

My wife and I wanted to do something else to mark the day – the more people know about autism the easier life can be made for everyone affected by it, and of course we wanted to raise money for Ambitious about Autism, too. 

The Happy video above came about because my wife, a musician, received a video from her friend Abigail of her son Reuben who also has autism. In the video Reuben was singing Pharrell’s ‘Happy’, on his own, so perfectly, and you could see the joy he experienced as he sang. My wife decided to make a short film set to the song with Isaac and Reuben doing things that made them happy. Simple and honest, just like any other children. We wanted to celebrate the boys. Autism is something to be respected and acknowledged, but we wanted it to be about the boys having a ball.

Long before my son Isaac was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, I saw how the world, with all its peculiarities and obstacles, was that little bit more hostile for him. Seeing him struggle – often articulated as screams, anger and crying – seemed so unfair to me. I didn’t subscribe to the ‘terrible twos’ or ‘naughty toddlers view’; there was something about Isaac’s tears that was different. 

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