I had helped him with the video – operating the camera at his direction, typing in subtitles, etc, as I had done on a number of previous occasions; but, let’s be clear – HE produced and edited it. On his own. From start to finish. Using a single switch.
When I saw the finished product, I suddenly realised – as I had not dared to for the previous 15 years – that my son; smart and funny, yet quadriplegic and speech-impaired with cerebral palsy, might just have a bright future ahead of him. A future in which he might have a Career. Opportunities. An Income. Independence. A Creative Outlet. Friends…
What I didn’t expect was what happened next.
Christopher had made the video simply to send to his TAFE-online I.T. teachers to introduce himself to them. This he did, and had a muted response. It was when he shared it with a tech network run from Seattle, WA, USA, that the fun began. The video quickly gathered nearly 100,000 views and began a wild ride for us!
When Christopher got to his computer the next morning, there were literally hundreds of comments and emails waiting for him in response to his video on youtube. Many of these were from trolls and nameless bullies who try to make their pitiful lives feel better by tearing others down with sarcasm, insults and invective. And let’s face it, the dimmest and weakest of bullies can make fun of somebody who is disabled.
I got some more smoke in my eyes, and quickly took the video down.
After advice from Chris Pirillo, we uploaded the video again, and things have only continued to surprise and delight us ever since. A World Wide Web of friends, opportunities, education and work have opened up, and Christopher hasn’t looked back. This weekend, he is again a keynote speaker at an important event (the Assistive Solutions Expo in Brisbane, organised by Spinal Life Australia).
I’ll be there with him, and, at some point, once again, some smoke may get in my eyes.
I never thought such things would be possible. I’m a pessimist, so I’m surprised!