My response to Jennifer Rooney – CMO Network editor at Forbes…

My response to Jennifer Rooney – CMO Network editor at Forbes who wrote this post called, “The iPhone ‘Misunderstood’ Christmas Ad Is A Sad Commentary On Culture And Does Apple No Favors.”

See the Apple ad here:

Watch the ad again Jennifer, but before you watch it…do something for me – Google: Non-Verbal Autism.
Now, imagine having a child who could not speak. Imagine you desperately wanted to see the world through your non-verbal child’s eyes. Imagine never knowing what they are paying attention to or whether or not they really understand the holidays. Have that picture in your mind yet? It’s difficult, I know. Not all of us think in pictures or are visual learners. Okay, have that in your mind now? Good.Now watch it again.

See what they did there? Yes. Apple was spot on. I sobbed watching the video unfold at the end. I thought of my 4 1/2 year old non-verbal son who is on the Autism Spectrum. Wow, this ad was brilliant. It was as if Apple could read my mind and many of the other parents I know with non-verbal children. All of my friends and family who know my son well, they all sobbed and loved this ad.

So what I do know is this ad was PERFECT for the 1 and 50 American families who have a child with autism. This ad was a breath of fresh air for those desperately trying to help their autistic teenager “fit in” with the neurotypical society. No, the ad doesn’t specifically say the teen has autism. But, when I watched this, I thought of my son immediately. The teen made his family cry and never had to speak a word. This kind of thing happens on a regular basis at my home. My neurotypical daughter was afraid of the dark one evening and my autistic son found a video on his iPhone about dealing with being scared and showed her the video. Again, no words.

You see, with children or teenagers on the spectrum, you can’t always  “see” their autism. Check out these photos of my son and you’ll see what I mean:

He looks like your typical kid. No visible disability at all. In fact, he’s very handsome and would probably talk your ear off if he could speak. Look at what is in his hands, an old iPhone. He is 4 1/2 and uses it as a communication device. He takes “selfies” on a regular basis and plays games like his neurotypical sibilings. For him, it’s a security blanket.

Attn Forbes: If you would, contact me at micahboygenius or join me and others with children on the autism spectrum at MicahBoyGenius or our blog if you want to know more about autism and how ads like this should be made more often. Pretty soon, those 1 in 50 children will be 1 in 50 adults. They could potentially become one of your employees or even your boss one day.

Perspective. Change it. Be aware of neurodiversity.

And there you have it…

Merry Christmas!


Mama Genius



  1. You are just as bad as Apple by also wishing a happy holiday; we're in the Christmas season but you give a greeting that applies to no particular time of year. Apple isn't any good when it releases the ad without noticing the glaring contradiction in it's greetings, of the non-specific 'holidays' that refers to anytime and the specific 'Christmas' in the song.


  2. Its nice that you are able to see beauty in this ad by relating it to autism, but autism is not intrinsic to the ad. Good art (and ads) also us to layer meaning onto it.

    Most people will not see this ad through the lens of having an autistic child, they will see it (or the first part of it) through the lens of having a sullen child whose anti-family tendencies are enabled further by their use of devices. Then we all get a warm fuzzy loving feeling when the ad-makers do something that just won't be happening with most people's sullen teenagers.

    Jennifer is right.


  3. Thank you for pointing that out. My intent was to spread autism awareness, I hope the Happy Holidays didn't distract you from my message. Thank you, John of Sydney and Merry Christmas! God bless! 🙂


  4. I don't think we could rule-out autism being intrinsic to this ad, at all. I would argue “we” all don't get a warm fuzzy loving feeling about the same thing. I have a neurotypical teenager so I can relate to that perspective, but I think Apple did more than portray a sullen teenager, on purpose. Did you know their products are being used for communication devices for MANY autistic individuals? They cater to a very large customer base who are living with autism or have children living with autism. I don't see why they would not have considered that and why the nature of the ad couldn't be autism. But, I could be wrong. 1 in 50 families is a lot of families but statistically you are correct that most won't see the ad this way, because there are the other 49 families to consider. This is where autism advocates like me come in. My intent was to make people aware of the 1 in 50 families who would be seeing the ad through a different lens. Jennifer is only right from her own perspective. Thank you for your comment and taking the time to see another perspective by reading my response.


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