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.
Melody and Michael’s Book
by Jackie Igafo-Te’o, Melody Igafo-Te’o, Michael Igafo-Te’o