10-year-old makes videos to educate about autism, science
Brody Stirk of Albion has a following on YouTube
ALBION – Brody Stirk has autism. The 10-year-old isn’t afraid to let the world know.
Some people with autism will use masking to hide their flaws or characteristics.
“I myself don’t do masking,” Brody said in a YouTube video he made about autism. “I show myself.”
Brody, an Albion fourth-grader, has teamed with his mother Janna Stirk to make nine videos so far on his YouTube channel – “Brody Educates – Welcome to the world of science.”
Brody, in his videos that tend to be 5 to 9 minutes, has done features on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Keuka Lake (where his parents were married), Pelicans, Dolphins, Flying Boats, Mamba Mia, Star Sailors, Ten Tickles (The Common Octopus) and Ants in my Pants.
He has 230 subscribers to his channel so far. He started posting videos about two months ago.
His mother records him on her iPhone and she edits the videos. Brody is happy to do the research for the videos, and do the talking.
He said he is bringing science – “with a sense of humor.”
His mother is amazed to see him transformed into a very confident chatterbox on the videos. He shares lots of facts and also mixes in some jokes and bloopers.
In his video about ants, Brody tells his audience some “fun facts” including that ants have five eyes – two big eyes and three little tiny eyes. They have an exoskeleton where their bones are on the outside of their body. And ants do a lot of work every day taking care of their colonies. They can carry 50 times their weight which Brody would be like him picking up his dad’s pickup truck.
Brody and his mother feel the most proud about a video released April 2 on Autism Awareness Day.
Brody shares that 1 in 44 kids have autism. He was diagnosed at 2 ½. People with autism are on a spectrum with variety of levels of function. Not everyone is affected the same.
He shares that people with autism often communicate differently. It may be hard for them to pick up social cues. They often don’t get sarcasm and may avoid eye contact.
“It can make it harder to make friends,” he said.
He and others with autism will often hyper fixate, and get obsessed on ideas, which he said can be both a blessing and a curse.
Many top inventors or the richest people have autism. It helps them really focus on a task and can lead to a major breakthrough. Brody mentioned Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, and Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who are believed to be on the spectrum.
He urges people to celebrate neurodiversity, and show them compassion, empathy and understanding.
“People experience and interact with the world in different ways,” he said in his video. “There is no right or wrong way to experience the world.”
Brody also doesn’t like to hear autism referred to in a negative way, as if it’s an affliction.
“It makes me very upset when people say autism is a disorder,” Brody said. “I say it is a super power.”
Brody said many of his classmates and teachers have seen his videos and he feels like a celebrity. His video about Keuka Lake was mentioned by Finger Lakes tourism official and was shared over 100 times on Facebook. He goes to Keuka Lake with his parents, Janna and Morgan Stirk. That’s where they were married. Brody declares it the most beautiful lake in the world.
He is planning more videos about science and also wants to show off special spots in Albion, including those that are often overlooked.
He is happy to use the videos to show himself, a person with autism.
“Just don’t call autism a disorder,” he said today during an interview at Bullard Park. “It’s a different-ability.”