For years, Dillan Barmache couldn't speak. Then he got an iPad. The 16-year-old, who has autism and is non-verbal, stars in a powerful new advertising campaign from Apple, launched in observance of World Autism Acceptance Day on Saturday.
For all the griping and joking about the alienating effects of smartphone technology, it's worth remembering that ubiquitous mini computers can actually help people socialize—even people who struggle with basic forms of communication. Samsung is capitalizing on research that suggests kids with autism like interacting with digital devices, by teaming up with South Korean universities to develop a free Android app designed to help children on the spectrum learn how to better make eye contact, and recognize facial expressions.
IDEA: The world that people with autism inhabit isn't just indescribable; in many ways it's unknowable. But one symptom many people on the spectrum experience—sensory sensitivity—can be illustrated, or at least approximated, on film.
This roundup of the week's best ads speak to the various obstacles we encounter in our lives—both the small hurdles and those that at first may seem insurmountable. The lesson here is that nothing is impossible, even if you're a dog who wants to drive a Subaru.
We've mentioned before—notably in last summer's Panera case—how random acts of kindness in customer service can snowball into massively positive PR when the customer involved relates the story poignantly through social media. The latest example comes from Midvale, Utah, where a server and manager at a Chili's restaurant thoughtfully helped out with a mini crisis involving a woman and her 7-year-old sister who has autism. The short story is: The sister refused to eat her burger, which had been cut in half, because she thought it was "broken." The server, in a remarkably compassionate way, offered to made her a new one—and the girl then kissed the new burger repeatedly when it arrived. It's a simple story, but one that the woman, Anna Kaye MacLean, tells evocatively in her post on Chili's Facebook wall. (See the full text below.) Now, Anna's accompanying photo of her sister kissing the burger has gone viral, with three-quarters of a million likes and more than 40,000 comments. Brands can't manufacture or even really plan for this stuff—that's what makes it so sharable—but it's always a joy when it happens. Via Mashable.
SunTrust has released an interesting new ad from Agency D7 about parents who are planning retirement for three, including their live-at-home autistic son. It's notable because the actor playing the son actually has autism, and isn't just playing the role of an autistic person.