Kai Petersen is obsessed with all things cars and, being a typical teen, he has spent a lot of time learning about his particular interest.
Where Kai, 10, is not neurotypical is that he is deaf, and he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
But even in his diagnosis he does not follow the norm.
Wikipedia says that while Asperger’s syndrome is on the autism spectrum, the Asperger’s children don’t have cognitive or speech difficulties.
Typically, these children struggle in social situations, which require interaction with others, and also have a hard time expressing emotion and reading social cues.
But that hasn’t stopped Kai from interacting with the world through his vlog.
“I follow quite a few YouTubers and about a year ago, * told my mom I want to be big like these other YouTubers, and she said, ‘Okay, what do you want your URL to be?’” Kai says.
His mom, Chevone Petersen, started thinking of a name for his site.
“Because my mom always told me that awesomeness flows through my veins, we decided on ‘Ausome Kai’ as my online brand. With ‘Ausome’ being a word play on autistic since I am autistic – Asperger’s syndrome.”
Chevone secured Kai’s domain name, ausomekai.com, and did the same for all the main media accounts that he would need -YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “We only did this once my mom was confident that I understood that having an online platform comes with a big responsibility and also that there may be people who disagree or make silly remarks or criticise my work,” says Kai. “But my mom regularly speaks to me about these things, and she monitors all my accounts as they are directly linked to her. And she checks all my subscribers and followers – and she has blocked some people.”
So Kai’s world has mom’s wary eye watching over it for potential threats, but Kai has the reins
over his content and is build-
ing his dream to host a great
“Now my goal is to build a strong subscription and follower base on these accounts, where my focus is on connecting with people and sharing life experiences,” he says.
“I really enjoy speaking on camera, especially recording my gaming like Minecraft and driving. Currently I am working on a very big project – a car restoration project (you can see details on my latest video),” he says.
“I am using my online platform to help as a funding mechanism to fund this project of mine.”
Kai also uses his vlogs and blogs to raise awareness about hearing loss and autism.
“I want people to know that being different does not mean that you cannot achieve your dreams. My dream is to be a successful YouTuber and to drive.
“I know that I am very good at making videos and being on camera, and I am always learning about how to optimise my platforms, even though it is very hard work, because all I want to do is make videos. But, in order for people to know about my channels, I also have to engage online and be present on my other accounts. Learning about this is part of my homeschooling,” Kai says.
You can support Kai’s project by purchasing access to a short story he wrote in 2016. All funds raised will go towards achieving his project goal.
Chevone says Kai has a very confident and natural on-camera presence, and he has learnt how to become creative in teaching himself ways to optimise his YouTube videos to rank better in searches.
“The internet, in particular YouTube, is allowing him access to explore his special interest, cars, and how to maximise his communication skills through on-camera presentations,” she says.
Because Chevone is a blogger too, she can appreciate how daunting it is to have a public online presence, especially if you are working towards developing a unique brand.
“It takes a lot of tenacity to be persistent and not give up, since the online environment can be extremely competitive and time consuming, depending on the niche that you want to focus on. To him, this may be about his working towards achieving his dreams, to me it is about supporting him and garnering this interest to help him create his own unique learning and development path.”
Most importantly, she says, he is building character and is not restricted in his thinking – it gives him the freedom to truly be himself and to communicate in a space where there are no barriers that restrict him in his self-expression, his thoughts and ideas.
You can see what Kai has produced by visiting his website, www.ausomekai.com, and subscribing to his YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.