Today I got the opportunity to work on set of a new Netflix show called "Atypical." The show's plot focuses on a family raising a teenage boy with Autism.
Most people don't know this about my life, but I have a younger brother who is on the Autism Spectrum. Throughout my college years and adult life, it has become an issue very near and dear to my heart that I've come to support immensely.
My younger brother is a product of the foster system who, along with my two other little siblings, was adopted into my already large family in 2012. They first entered my life during my freshman year at Villanova in the Autumn of 2008.
Having a younger brother with Autism has changed the way I see the world for the better. He is exceptionally smart, handsome, and loving. He is also very emotional, and the seemingly smallest things can trigger very large emotions. And these outbursts can come without warning and be very difficult to dissolve.
My little brother also has a difficult time being bullied. Middle school is pretty brutal in general, but his differences often make him a target to other children whose parents aren't raising them well. And that, as someone who fiercely loves her family and little brother, is devastating.
I volunteered for the Villanova Special Olympics Fall Festival every year in college, as well as the Autism Speaks and Awareness walks. Even when I worked for CBS Radio in Philadelphia upon graduating, I always made sure we were a part of the Autism Speaks weekends.
And that's why I'm beyond thankful to be part of filming today on "Atypical." As someone who has a little brother on the brink of his teenage years with Autism, I am truly, incredibly happy at the amount of programming that's out there and that's in development raising awareness about not only the struggles and hardships of Autism but also the endless love and joy families get to experience having a loved one on the Autism Spectrum.
So thank you, Netflix, for supporting "Atypical." I can't wait to watch its first season - and hopefully even more seasons after that. And thank you, "Parenthood," for helping others understand kids and people like Max. I hope for more programming featuring Autism in the future, and I'm so happy it seems things are moving in that direction for the future.
If you'd like to raise awareness for Autism and Light It Up Blue, you can do so here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/