Send your video submissions to Erin at autismtodayFB@gmail.com

I confess: I am an Internet addict.  Since 1998, I have run an online business, www.autismtoday.com.  Today, with Facebook and other Internet tools, you can topple an entrenched Arab dictator, or a college student can become the youngest billionaire in history.  And there is this new phenomenon, viral video.  What’s a viral video?  It’s a bite-sized explosion of meaning, inspiration or entertainment, contained in 2 minutes or less of images, music, words or some combination thereof, arranged in so irresistible format, people are compelled to share it.  Madison Avenue PR firms are paid tens of millions of dollars to invent them.  But the best are pure, spontaneous, sincere eruptions of pure emotion.

We have been very busy recently promoting our next conference.  But I got an e-mail yesterday that set something in motion like a personal viral video.  Mok Thye Mee, a beautiful lady from Rainbow Wellness Care Centre, wrote me a charming note.

Dear Karen,
Hi good morning.  How are you getting on?  We have choose a name for the school……..Rainbow Wellness Care Centre……which explained that we are using the multiple approaches such as….play therapy; music therapy; sensory integration; water therapy ; art therapy and certainly diet therapy to be incorporate in the child learning as well as treatment.  The word rainbow is given the children a hope with all the good things happen in their life which represent with multiple colours.  Do you like it ?
Thank you and best regards,
Mok

Mok’s message utterly charmed me, so much so I dropped everything and forwarded it to my business manager, just so he could enjoy it.  “Do you like it?” I asked.  The poetry of her words I knew would delight him.  These unsolicited love pats from the grassroots are why we love what we do.  And he asked: “Speaking of Rainbows: Have you seen ‘Double Rainbow’?”

The best viral videos are those that cause a gestalt-like out-of-body experience.  There is no viral video I’ve seen, other than videos of my kids, that create immediate happiness quite like “Double Rainbow.”  I had no idea my business manager was a Double Rainbow fan!!  Double Rainbow recreates childlike wonder and gratitude in a few minutes of unspeakable bliss.  The video is no more or less than a double rainbow viewed from a mountainside.  But it’s the audio that knocks you off your feet.  It is at once hilarious and deeply moving.  I challenge you to watch “Double Rainbow” now and not feel uplifted.

He and I immediately talked and realize, Mok from Malaysia, and the Rainbow Wellness Care Centre, not only has a beautiful idea.  She inspired us to go back out to you for a viral video of our own.  Something joyful, marvelous and/or funny, that celebrates autism, and the power of what is unique in us and our children.  So: I hereby challenge all of you, members and friends of Autism Today and Autism Vancouver, to a viral video contest.  Create a short video, 2 minutes or less.  Lift up your hearts.  Give the word a joyful shout out about autism and its gifts.

Your reward?  3rd place is free copies of Autism Tomorrow and Artism: The Art of Autism2nd Place reward is the DVD set from our Autism Calgary conference, www.autismcalgary.org1st Place: Roundtrip airfare to Autism Vancouver from any location in the US or Canada, and full registration at Autism Vancouver. We’ll show all three videos at Autism Vancouver.

Recently, I wrote a blog entry entitled, “Every Child is a Star” There is no more important mission for the autism community today to learn how to use a tool uniquely appropriate for persons with autism: the Internet.  There are a plethora of online tools to equip our young people with autism to explore their interests and gifts, learn a vocation, become self-reliant and, who knows, maybe someday live independent lives.  Every one of our autism children is a star.  Let’s celebrate them in a viral video.

Send your video submissions to Erin at autismtodayFB@gmail.com