Melody’s Success Story: “The Time I Realized My Brother was Different”

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Jackie Igafo-Te’o says she had a “surreal feeling” when she saw two of her children on television. Melody, 13, and her brother, Michael, 15, were featured in a two-minute Disney Channel segment called “The Time I Realized My Brother was Different.”  In the film,  Melody describes what it’s like to live with a brother with autism.

Melody says she hopes the short film gives people a better understanding of the disorder. The film is based on a book Melody wrote several years ago, chronicling her own tales of playing games and eating pizza with her brother. To see the video…

Melody and Michael’s  Message

More important than being on television, Jackie said, is the effect her children’s message can have.

“As Michael and Melody’s mom, I would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support that has been shown to us…and for those of you who “get it” and understand the message, you know EXACTLY why we did this. People as far as Australia are tweeting about the positive message portrayed by the Disney Channel piece and the article that followed.

Our Heart and Soul

We would never exploit our children and feel that this piece was done respectfully and with extra attention paid to the positive aspects of our childrens’ lives. The production company went out of their way to solicit input at every stage of this project, not only from me, but from the children. The result is our collective heart and soul.

For those of you who know what it’s like to live with autism, you know that life isn’t always positive. We have been to the valley of despair and believe me, it isn’t pretty. People are less than cordial – – and I can remember times that I left a full cart of groceries at the store, crying, because someone had said something very rude about my son. It is up to us to change the public perception of this and all disabilities. These are our sons, daughters, mothers, brothers, nieces…and we are NOT going to go away.

So to all who “get it” – thank you. For those who don’t, you are really missing out on some very special people in your communities. Get to know the person underneath the outer shell and you will be amazed at the gifts and talents that you will find.”

The segment airs regularly on the Disney Channel.

Read “Jackson mother of autistic boy proud of her kids’ appearance on Disney Channel Segment” at http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2009/12/jackson_mother_of_autistic_boy.html

Melody and Michael’s Book

My Brother Has Autism

by Jackie Igafo-Te’o, Melody Igafo-Te’o, Michael Igafo-Te’o

Free download at http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/my-brother-has-autism-(2009)/8112897

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Melissa B.

I am a huge fan of sharing the positive side of kids with autism. Too much negative attention consumes the minds of those who don’t understand. I have had the privilegeof being a part of Michael’s life for eight years. Although there have been bumps in the road, I have seen some amazing things from this talented kid. His growth over the years definitely outweighs any behaviors. I am so lucky to be Michael’s friend!

Thanks so much for sharing! My newest book is for a younger audience and addresses the same theme: Different is Just Different. If you would like to see this book (featuring many adorable bears) visit http://www.ktompkins.com/different 🙂

mary

Well said. It’s time the world realized that every one isn’t the same and Autistic children should be treated like other humans. I have a 14 yo who has experienced many of the same problems too because of Autism. He’s very kind, gentle and likes the same things as other kids do. “Normal” kids need to realize that name calling and or bullying is doing more harm than good. I think a program should b implemented so that education of these disabilities. How would you like it if you were done the same way if uwere in that position? It’s sooo hard being the parent because there r moments that u feel so helpless in knowing what and how to handle these conflicts. God loves us all and the rest of the world needs to come to terms with that. Yes, they R special and have talents just like other kids; they just move to a different drum beat.

Barbara

This little film is so well made, it feels so natural and its message goes even far beyond autism and shows so clearly that we should accept and embrace all our differences, while not forgetting that we are basically the same. Bravo for Melody and Michael’s family and to the Disney channel for putting out such an important message! Very inspiring 🙂 (and I usually loathe Disney ;))

Barb, a mom of 2 exceptional children with their own differences