When Val MacIver was thirteen, she accidentally read her mother’s email and discovered she had autism. During her stint as a Young Adult Leaders Fellow for MAC, she produced a series of three videos discussing her journey with autism from diagnosis to self-advocacy. MAC is pleased to release these videos in a series called the Teachings of Val. She shared her thoughts on the process of creating the videos with MAC.

Why did you create these videos?

I created these videos with the goal of spreading awareness as well as acceptance around disabilities and advocacy. From finding out about my diagnosis of autism to leading my own IEP meeting, I have experienced both the difficulties as well as the helpfulness of the special education system in Massachusetts.

What are you hoping to accomplish with these videos?

I would like the videos to help people of any age who have been touched by disabilities. My intention has been to explain my story so that others will have my videos as resources.

What was the process of creating them like for you?

The process of creating the videos was a challenge. Initially, I was excited about forming what I hope others will find a useful set of videos. As I continued to work on the videos, I began to become more anxious. Now the whole world will have access to my announcement about the fact that I have autism. Let’s be real: that makes me feel vulnerable. However, I have decided the pros of helping others far outweigh the potential cons. I am shining light on my disability as well as the steps I took towards becoming a self-advocate in order to fulfill my desire to help people. Whether a person has a disability or not, I believe that disability rights, special education, and advocacy are all important to learn about. I hope you all find my experience informative and meaningful.

Watch The Teachings of Val:

Teaching #1: When You Find Out You Have Autism

Teaching #2: The Importance of Self-Advocacy

Teaching #3: Using the Laws to Self-Advocate