When the phone rang last Friday afternoon and the caller identified herself as a producer from Good Morning America, I immediately thought about the blog.
This country’s most watched morning news show saw SpecialEv, I had surmised, and wanted to do some kind of story on autism and/or blogging. What an opportunity to help increase autism awareness and connect with parents of kids with special needs (and snag a few thousand more followers for the blog).
“We’re doing a segment on families who periodically unplug from technology,” the producer said, and “we were wondering if we could come out and interview you?”
It wasn’t what I was expecting, of course – but it sounded exciting.
How on earth did you find us, I asked?
Last year a local parenting magazine featured a few families, including ours, as we went screen-free for seven days (I would highly recommend it, by the way). Good Morning America staff had seen the article. That was last Friday.
The film crew came on Sunday.
The piece aired Monday.
It was a fun experience for all of us (except our son Noah, who comes home from camp tomorrow after being screen-free for the last 24 days).
Evan didn’t quite understand the concept of the camera crew or that we were going to be on national television – but he loved the lights. The cameraman didn’t quite understand the concept of Evan, but he was still cordial.
The director of operations seemed to know a lot about autism, and he was great with Evan. He showed our son how to work some of the equipment and patiently answered his never-ending barrage of questions (mostly about the lights). He didn’t even flinch when Evan got really upset about some lights going off.
But this story wasn’t about autism. It took a friend pointing this out to me, and I still didn’t get it at first.
She saw the segment and said, “You guys looked just like a typical family.”
“Really,” I questioned, not quite understanding her point.
“Absolutely,” she said. “This segment had nothing to do with autism. “You were just like any other family. All of you, including Evan, were unplugged from electronics.”
Autism didn’t even make an appearance on our national TV debut.
You see, autism is so much a part of this family that it’s always there in some way – and not always a bad way. It makes us laugh, it helps us appreciate the little things, it allows us to meet wonderful and caring people and so much more. But, it’s always there; whether any of us likes it or not. Except during our 15 seconds of fame. There was no autism. Not even a hint of it.