Isla Hicks is a student in year 7 at the Five Islands School in the Isles of Scilly. We recently spoke with her about the amazing video she created inspired by her autistic brother, Austin for a school competition.

Isla wanted to improve the public’s understanding of autism, which was the reason why she chose to create a film dedicated to Austin. She believes that once people get to know her brother, they won’t think of him as a 'weird kid' but would become his friends and would'treat him properly'.

After watching the video and talking to Isla we were curious to find out more about Austin and asked Isla to describe him and their relationship for us. Isla told us that she and Austin are very close and spend lots of time together playing their favourite made up game and all kinds of sports.

About Austin

'Austin is very sweet, he is really tall for his age and he is like a big, gentle giant – he wouldn’t hurt anyone.  Austin is quite quiet and not very social, but he can get on with stuff. He can get really focused and is very intelligent with certain things and yet completely oblivious with other things.'

'Austin is very dedicated to his hobbies. At the moment he is really into football and cricket and these have become obsessions. His obsessions are usually science related or something young for his age or completely random.’

Challenging situations 

Isla also shared that as Austin is very sensitive, some situations can be challenging for him and she often needs to be careful about how she acts when they play together. 

’To get off the islands in the winter, we have to fly on small planes. This is hard on his senses – planes and busy places are difficult for him. He can get confused and he needs his ear defenders. At school he finds it hard to sit properly – he has trouble staying still and focusing.’

The community's reaction after watching Isla's video

As a young creative artist, Isla said she wasn’t sure her video was good enough until she received the amazing feedback on Facebook. Many people approached Isla and told her that until now they had no idea what autism is and thanked her for teaching them a little bit more about the condition.

’I was really surprised when I started showing it to people and some of them cried and said that it was amazing… On Facebook, I got comments from people I had never met before saying that it had touched them, made them cry and they were showing it to their work colleagues and friends to help them to understand autism better… Even teachers came up to me and said how inspirational they thought it was. I was a bit confused because I couldn’t see why people thought it was so good. Austin just wanted to know if he was going to be famous.’

It would be great if everyone accepted other people for who they are.

Isla’s moving video managed to bring awareness of autism in her school and local community. Impressed by her brilliant project, we asked Isla for her opinion on how the world could help Austin and other autistic individuals:

’By not judging them before knowing them properly. People don’t realise what a sweet, lovely person Austin is, and I am sure there are other autistic people in the same situation. People always just see the quirks at the start and only see that part of their personality and don’t give them a chance to prove themselves as kind, interesting, funny, clever people. All of Austin’s friends and family have grown to love his quirks. It would be great if everyone accepted other people for who they are.