Part of Lesson Plan: Autism: Building Understanding and Empathy
Activity Overview / Details
As an opening activity, play this clip from MTV's popular series World of Jenks. A hand out will be given out . This handout will be used the entire lesson.
This video shows a young adult with autism and his day to day life thanks to videographer Andrew Jenks. I use this clip to start instead of with the younger child version, which will be used at the end of the lesson, because I want the students to more closely identify with the subject. A survey of my students say this is a good idea!
The hand out can be found in the resource section.
Option: This unit will be stretched to 2 days if you show the entire clip. I highly recommend it.
After watching the approx. 2 min. video clip:
Ask students for their reaction to meeting the subject of the video: Chad, a twenty year old with autism.
Students start a journal page or use the hand out offered in the resource section.
Students are asked to write things Chad knows about or collects?
For the first entry ask students to write a reflection on what prior knowledge they have, if any, about Autism.
Then take a few minutes for students to share what they wrote with two other students.( Pair Share)
Lastly, ask a few students to share with the entire class their information. This organically begins a guided group discussion. Students have gained confidence about the topic by talking with peers so it is often easier for them to articulate their thoughts to the class.
Awareness and education is key to understanding and compassion. People with Autism are often misunderstood and sometimes bullied. Parents of children with Autism are shunned and criticized.
*A personal observation* I have had students with Autism of various levels on the spectrum in my classroom as I showed the World of Jenks Episode 2 video. The first time I was concerned about how they would respond. I have not had any negative responses, so I feel encouraged to continue. I feel that most students with Autism want others to know what they go through.Then it is no longer is the elephant in the living room!
Building a sense of empathy in our students is my passion.
Materials / Resource
- World of Jenks: Can't make me be [ Go to Site ] Full Episode (21 minutes)
- World of Jenks Episode 2 segment [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Andrew Jenks is a 24 year old videographer that lives with individuals for a week and shares what he learns through his shows. In this case, he meets and stays with a family with an autistic 20 year old son. (2:36 min)