Things That Matter

Video of Boy With Down’s Syndrome Hugging an Autistic Boy Goes Viral

It may not be obvious to everyone due to misrepresentation in the media, but according to the World Health Organization, there are more than 1 billion people in the world who have some form of disability. That statistic corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, which means that a large chunk of people on the planet are not adequately or accurately represented when it comes to the media. Thankfully, there’s been a recent uptick in activism aimed at shining a light on positive stories that center around folks with disabilities. As these movements are quick to point out, there is no one way to be disabled, and not all stories of folks’ with disabilities are sad or depressing.

This point couldn’t be illustrated any clearer than by the video that the Spanish Language Facebook page Jalisco Oculto shared on Friday. The touching video of two young Mexican students interacting with each other quickly made waves, but not for the usual shocking or click-baity content. What made this video different from the usual internet distractions was that these boys both had special needs. According to the video description, one boy had Down syndrome while the other had Autism. The video’s caption reads: “A Down syndrome boy with a huge heart comforts his autistic classmate in his own way”. 

The video quickly struck a chord with people, especially those who have family members with special needs. 

The video first shows the boy with Down’s syndrome playfully waving his hand in front of his autistic classmate’s face. The classmate’s face visibly expresses emotion and, in response, the boy with Down’s syndrome leans in and wraps an arm around him, giving the boy a hug. The autistic boy appears to become more emotional and leans into him, his emotions seeming to grow on his face. The boy with Down’s syndrome simply hugs him harder, at one point rubbing and patting his back and appearing to wipe away his friend’s tears. After they break the hug, the boy with Down’s syndrome continues to try and cheer him up, holding up both of his friend’s hands playfully, seeming to urge him to dance. 

The video became an almost instant phenomenon, wracking up 140,000 likes, almost 10,000 comments, and over 450,000 shares. Quickly, the video was shared to other social media platform like Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram, veritably taking the internet by storm. 

On each platform, people flooded the comment sections with stories of the empathy and kindness that their loved ones with special needs have shown them. One Twitter user wrote: “This child remind us that love is instinct and love is innate and that hate is taught”. 

The video seemed to resonate with people because of the unexpected friendship between these two boys. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 700 babies is born with Down’s syndrome in the United States. Additionally, the CDC estimates that one in 68 children in the U.S. have autism. Needless to say, this means that children with special needs aren’t “unusual” in any way–they are part of our community like any other child. 

The internet’s strong reaction to this video is proof that the world craves wholesome and uplifting stories. 

While the news inundates us with stories of horror and tragedy, it is videos like this one that show us a lesson we all need to acknowledge: that empathy and love surround us all, even if we don’t see it all the time. 

This woman made an astute observation about the high emotional intelligence of children with Down syndrome

Believe it or not, many of us have family members with disabilities. Many of us are disabled ourselves.

This person explains how mixed special needs classrooms can benefit all students 

There is no need to segregate students with special needs, like some schools have trended towards doing. As Ari Ne’eman of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network states,”Segregated schools lead to segregated societies. Inclusive schools give us the opportunity for inclusive societies”.

This person expressed his gratitude for having children with special needs in his life. 

As we mentioned before, not all stories of those with disabilities are stories of sadness and tragedy. Many are stories of love, kindness, and learning.

This woman expressed her admiration for the Mexican school that encourages behavior like this.

One could argue that this video went so viral because it showed the world behavior that we’re not shown very often. It would benefit all of us to act like the boys in this video and and express selfless empathy for no reason at all. 

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