New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month With Two New Videos

Earlier this morning, Apple posted a pair of videos onto its YouTube channel to join in on celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. The videos - titled "Dillan's Voice" and "Dillan's Path" - show how the company's technology, namely the iPad, has helped a young man with autism navigate a world that doesn't fully understand what he's going through.

Dillan narrates the first video, Dillan's Voice, using the help of an assistive communication app on the iPad. He mentions that most of his life it was impossible to convey what he felt to people around him, but with the help of the iPad he can finally speak and have conversations with his friends and family.

So many people can't understand that I have a mind. All they can see is a person who is not in control. But now you can hear me. The iPad helps me to see not only my words but to hold onto my thoughts. Having a voice has changed everything in my life. No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them too.
Dillan's mom Tami, and his therapist Deborah Spengler, provide some background into Dillan's past in the second video. Dillan was born in 1999 and Tami mentions that what the iPad has done for her son is "just the most incredible thing ever, to suddenly start to hear your child's voice." Before he could use the iPad to type, Dillan describes "a lonely existence" where he had to create relationships with his various toy animals since he couldn't communicate with his family.


Apple has been known as a big proponent for first-party accessibility features on its devices, as well as encouraging the development of third-party apps that facilitate educational experiences for users with vision, hearing, physical, or learning impairments. Many of its award-winning efforts have yielded results such as bringing gaming to the blind on iOS, and even various assistive technologies like VoiceOver and haptic feedback on the Apple Watch.

Apple has also launched a section of the app store, called Voices of Autism, inspired by Dillan's story. There users can download educational and every-day apps, helpful books, and listen to podcasts about "real-life stories" from people living with autism.

More can be discovered about Apple's extensive accessibility features on the company's website.



Top Rated Comments

(View all)

32 months ago
As someone who also has Autism, I fully support Apple with showcasing this young man's story.

You might think that I have more to say (and I do), but I don't think most would read it so I'll just end it here.
Rating: 42 Votes
32 months ago
My brother has autism and is nonverbal. Thanks to the iPad, he can communicate at a level I feared wasn't possible. From the bottom my heart, thank you Apple.
Rating: 30 Votes
32 months ago
As a parent of an autistic child, I am so proud of Apple and the tech community for caring to give voice to those that need help.
Rating: 28 Votes
32 months ago
Very touching. So glad he was born in a time that this is possible.
Rating: 28 Votes
32 months ago

The autism rate over the last few years has spiked drastically. I'm still convinced the cause is something that's being kept from the public.

Would be nice to see apple spend some money on research towards those answers.


As one on the spectrum at the high functioning end, I believe one of the big reasons is society has, in the last 35 years, become significantly more demanding of having a high social IQ and emotional IQ to be "normal".

Low functioning autistics, like Dillan, have always been obviously autistic and easily diagnosed. And it's great to see tools like the iPad help them become more functioning.

But it's higher up the spectrum that all the new diagnose is occurring. People who function reasonably okay and you generally don't pick until you talk to them a little or longer.

Back in the '70s and earlier, it didn't matter if you were not able to understand feelings, or be a social butterfly, because the dominant "species" (men) were not anyway. Before the '80s, you'd never see a man cry, for example.

It was much easier for an functioning autistic to disappear into the background and find a niche were they could be happy or at least, not pressured to be someone different.

Ironically, back then, particularly for guys, if you were social and emotional, you were the one with a "disorder".

But now, we expect everyone to be in touch with their feelings and social masters. I think that's why my own diagnosis didn't come til I was 45 (7 years ago).

As I got older and the world changed, I think I found it harder and harder to conform to what was expected of a "normal" person.

I'm not saying this change in the world is a bad thing either. I think it is a very good thing. It has been a significant reason for the improved relations and understanding between men and women.

But at the moment, it's a bit out of balance because we are expecting *everybody* to fit this new "normal" and when they don't, we say something is wrong with them, and often they get diagnosed autistic.

We need to get to a point where we see functioning autistic people as normal - but in a different way.
Rating: 20 Votes
32 months ago

As someone who also has Autism, I fully support Apple with showcasing this young man's story.

You might think that I have more to say (and I do), but I don't think most would read it so I'll just end it here.


Please, go ahead and share your story.

Feel free. We have a number of autistic members here.


Somewhat unrelated, I can be added to the list of people with a "disability."

I have cerebral palsy, so life for me is somewhat different from most 16 year olds. I use Apple products every day to get around this, so I support Apple with this as well as all their other accessibility-related moves.
Rating: 19 Votes
32 months ago

The autism rate over the last few years has spiked drastically. I'm still convinced the cause is something that's being kept from the public.

Would be nice to see apple spend some money on research towards those answers.

Better awareness and diagnosis perhaps?
Rating: 19 Votes
32 months ago

I'm going to express what I expect is a very unpopular opinion. I believe there are fad diseases that are over diagnosed and that some people try to include themselves (or their loved ones) in under an overly broad definition. I think that autism is the latest such "craze". People like Dillon undoubtedly have serious challenges but for every Dillon it seems there are 10 more people on the autism "spectrum" that have only minor challenges in life that could easily be chalked up to us all being different rather than any specific underlying condition. To me it seems that many people having concerns about their child's development today jump to the autism spectrum as an explanation and given the lack of a hard diagnosis it can be a dubious claim. The spike in cases could be a combination of increased awareness leading to increased diagnosis but also a large increase in parents (incorrectly) using it as an explanation for whatever other concern they have. We seem to have a spike in something like this for every generation, prior to autism it seems it was food allergies, prior to that it was ADHD, prior to that it was asthma, repeat ad-nausium. For every one of those conditions there are people legitimately suffering from the effects but I'd wager a significant number - for some even a majority - are not impairing and/or correct diagnosis. Perhaps I'm an idiot who hasn't been informed of the facts or maybe time will prove me wrong but I highly suspect this "epidemic" is overblown.

As a parent of an autistic girl, I can assure you it's not a parent that makes a diagnosis. It's a trained specialist.
The autistic spectrum is after all a spectrum. There are those who are mildly affected, and those who are more severely autistic. But I don't think it's trendy.
Rating: 18 Votes
32 months ago

So how does iPad actually helps? How is this different to writing or typing on a typewriter. I also form words from letters, and sentences from words while typing or speaking.


Look layers deeper. There is software therapists and parents use to help get the kids to that point. Look beyond the result and think how the person got there. Therapists and parents use specific software to help build these skills. This has been going on for several years.
Rating: 14 Votes
32 months ago
Dang I cried, faith in humanity restored.
Rating: 14 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]