Andy Burns uses his channel to inform and educate people on autism by sharing his experiences with the disorder. It’s what he focuses his content around and arguably what his audience know him best for. But in his latest video he poses the question whether this makes it his defining quality?
In this video IndieAndy explores if autism defines autistic people, coming to his own conclusion whilst throwing the question out to his audience to consider their own position in the debate.
He starts the video by reflecting on his journey with autism and explains that previously he made a conscious effort not to let it define him purely because he didn’t like that part of himself. Andy explains that he “thought it was weird and that people wouldn’t understand me.”
But now, he discusses autism on a weekly basis on his channel and it is a predominant part of his social media presence. Andy goes as far as asking the question whether he would be “nothing without my autism”.
He quickly explains that the position he has come to in the debate is both yes and no. Andy feels that autism is a defining part of his personality. He is the way he is because of it.
This includes the struggles involved in his autism too, struggling in life with “routine changes, change in general, getting stressed out at stupid things”. Those small things are annoying and he wishes he could “just snap his fingers and get on with it”.
But Andy explains his autism also has a positive impact his personality. He is able to help people because of it – both through his YouTube career and in his personal life. It enables him to be creative, without it he may not have become a musician. And most importantly, according to Andy, it makes him curious.
Andy wants to ask questions and he wants to find answers. “If we don’t ask questions, and we don’t have a curiosity about things, we might not find things that work better than the norm we are currently in” he explains.
Andy goes on to explain in his video that he feels by disclosing he is autistic people can sometimes get the “wrong impression.”
He feels that on occasion people are unable to look past the autism and think there’s not much else to him or others who have the disorder. “But this isn’t true” Andy emphasises.
Andy begins to come to a conclusion of where he stands on the topic. From his own experiences he feels autism is a defining part of him. He lists that it dictates what he does or where he goes; it helps him figure out his “route in life” and it has helped him make friends.
But he stresses that is not all that he is. Andy is “a husband to be, a musician, a content creator, a Geordie”. And most recently, due to lockdown, someone with short hair after his fiancee cut it.
All these pieces of him are as relevant as his autism. All of it makes up who Andy is in the here and now.
Andy summarises by explaining that whilst autism is a defining part, it should not be the singular and only defining element to an identity. Instead let it be their achievements and successes or personality and character.
He finishes off by posing the question to audience, what are our thoughts on it? Where do we stand? Andy stresses he can only speak from personal experience and wants to hear from the rest of his viewers.
If you want to share your views on the subject go over to his channel and join the conversation in the comments.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: check out our video spotlight on ADHD and Boredom or alternatively read about Joe Weller’s discussion on mental health and content creation.