For all media inquires please contact DoctorMadScience@Gmail.com
We would love to hear from you :)
On August 17th
I was interviewed by Rogers TV
A young autistic boy has found his outlet in making science videos. Jordan Hilkowitz was diagnosed with autism when he was just 18 months old, he didn’t begin to speak until he was 5. His mother Stacey remembers the heartbreak she experienced as she watched her young son bang his head against the wall out of frustration at not being able to communicate.
It was his babysitter’s idea for Jordan to start making science videos. He’d always had an interest in science, and she felt that this could be an outlet for him to communicate to a larger audience. Larger indeed! Jordan’s channel, Doctor Mad Science, has received over 2.4 million views to date – and he’s become a local celebrity for his scientific knowhow.
The videos are excellent. You don’t always need the greatest camera or the most sophisticated setup to communicate your message in an effective way. Jordan always introduces the experiment to be performed in each episode, and he takes the viewer through each of the simple household objects used to do it. The experiments are fun, repeatable, and really spark an interest among viewers both young and old. I cannot wait to try some of these fun activities with my kids.
According to Jordan’s mom and his babysitter Tracy Laparulo, his speech and social skills have blossomed since starting the YouTube channel. Students are interested in learning from him and the love his ability to break an experiment down in an easy-to-understand sort of way. My heart is warmed that Jordan has found his outlet, and perhaps parents and caregivers of other autistic children might be inspired to try some of his experiments, or to start channels of their own.
About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.
Sunday, AUG 12, 2012
By Deborah Netburn If you love kitchen counter science experiments like watching food coloring disperse magically in a bowl of milk, or creating your own lava lamp out of water, Alka-Seltzer and oil, then you need to know about the Doctor Mad Science YouTube channel.
The videos, which include gems like "Alka-Seltzer Rocket" and "Foam Explosion," have been viewed more than 2.4 million times, and it's easy to understand why: my 4-year-old could watch these videos five times in a row, and the truth is so could I.
Before beginning an experiment, Doctor Mad Science goes through a list of what you'll need to re-create the experiment at home, then he narrates what he is doing in a forceful and clipped style. One charming quirk: He almost always refers to water as H20. The videos are short and I haven't seen one that hasn't made me go "AWESOME!"
But what is more awesome for Jordan Hilkowitz's mom, Stacy, is the changes she's noticed in her son since he started making his Doctor Mad Science videos.
Hilkowitz was diagnosed with severe autism when he was just 18 months and didn't talk until he was 5. Stacy remembers watching her son bang his head against the tile floor in frustration at not being able to make himself understood.
"I used to sit at the top of my stairs and just cry," she said.
But Hilkowitz always loved science, and it was his baby sitter Tracy Leparulo's idea to have him start making the videos. (Leparulo is also the camerawoman, and the adult supervisor for most of the Doctor Mad Science videos).
Stacy said something changed when her son started making the videos.
"Jordan’s confidence grew, his speech started to improve and kids at school wanted to be a part of his videos," she wrote in a guest post on the YouTube blog. "While building his online persona, Jordan was suddenly making friends in the real world."
Now Hilkowitz is a local celebrity in the Richmond Hills area of Ontario, Canada, where he lives, and Stacy said kids ask him to come sit with them at lunch and talk to him about his videos.
Talk about the power of science.
THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2012
Today we bring you a guest post from the mother of a 10 year-old autistic YouTube partner, whose life changed dramatically when he took his passion for science online.
I want to introduce you all to my son Jordan, known as Doctor Mad Science to his legion of YouTube fans.
When he was 18 months old, Jordan was diagnosed as severely autistic. He exhibited behaviors like head banging, flapping and fits. It wasn't until he turned five that he started to speak, using just one or two words. At the time I wondered if he would ever be able to have a conversation, go to school, or make a friend. As a mom, these are the kinds of thoughts that keep you up at night.
But, through it all, one things was clear: Jordan LOVED science. Especially the kind of science that involved raiding the cupboards and turning our kitchen counter into a DIY laboratory! About a year ago, he started posting these household experiments on YouTube. And that’s when something changed. Jordan’s confidence grew, his speech started to improve and kids at school wanted to be a part of his videos. While building his online persona, Jordan was suddenly making friends in the real world.
Autism will always challenge Jordan, but I’ve learned it doesn’t have to define him. Toda, he’s a ten year-old chatterbox, and (when he’s not getting into trouble with his friends) he continues to explore the world of science on YouTube to share with all of you. As for me? I’m sleeping better these days with my very own Doctor Mad Science in the house.
Stacey Hilkowitz, Jordan’s mom, recently watched “Ivory Soap + Microwave = Snow.”
Saturday July 14th, 2012 - The Richmond Hill LiberalLab inspires autistic Richmond Hill boy
STAFF PHOTO/SJOERD WITTEVEEN
Jordan Hilkowitz, a.k.a. Doctor Mad Science, does science experiments with help from Tracy Leparulo. Some of Jordan’s favourites include make your own lava lamp’, foam explosion and milk + soap = magic.
Wonder of science.
Adam McLean Jul 13, 2012 - 3:56 PM
Jordan Hilkowitz shouts step-by-step instructions over a small film canister, in which he has just poured water and antacid tablets.
Snapping the small canister shut and placing it upside down, the 10-year-old begins to explain the effect of combining carbon dioxide and water.
But before he can finish, the canister rockets into the air and it’s all captured on video and posted to Youtube, where he goes by the handle Doctor Mad Science.
The videos have helped the autistic Bernard Public School student find his voice and propel him into not only an Internet sensation, but also an inspiration.
His kid-friendly experiments, using average household products, have garnered nearly two million Youtube views and about 5,000 subscribers to his Youtube channel.
While the attention and media requests are pouring in, just as engaging as his videos is the impact social media and technology have had on the communication of the Grade 5 student.
Five years ago, Jordan wouldn’t speak. Living with autism, he was non-verbal and prone to physical outbursts.
When watching the two to three-minute videos of Jordan, clad in his signature safety goggles and lab coat, it’s amazing to think he rarely spoke five years ago.
With help from babysitter Tracy Leparulo, 22, Jordan has posted multiple experiments, such as, make your own lava lamp, foam explosion and milk + soap = magic. In front of the camera, Jordan is an engaging and outgoing personality.
Away from the camera, Jordan is a little more subdued, but thanks to social media, computers and science, Jordan’s overall communication has improved leaps and bounds, said his mom, Stacy Hilkowitz.
“For years, he would only speak in individual letters or sounds,” she said.
“But since he’s been posting the science experiments for the last year, his confidence has gone absolutely through the roof.”
Jordan was always interested in science, according to his mom. Her son would collect rocks, minerals and construct pulley systems around the house from an early age.
Back then, he would often rely on Google searches to convey what he was thinking or trying to say.
When his scientific focus turned to experiments, Ms Leparulo suggested he appear on camera, as she thought it would help Jordan work on his speech and perhaps gain confidence. That experiment in itself has been a success.
Using technology and social media to boost the communication capabilities of autism individuals, is gathering momentum.
The theory suggests the human face doesn’t have the same drawing power for an autistic child and something about technology triggers the motivation that’s lacking in face-to-face contact.
In St. Paul, Minnesota, students with autism and cognitive challenges learn communication and social skills through an e-pal e-mail exchange with college students training to be teachers.
Another project in the United States found a private online social network, moderated by educators and limited to people with special needs, improved social and communication skills, creative expression and self-esteem.
Off camera, Jordan is still communicative and attentive, but with a more shy persona.
Sitting cross-legged on a couch, next to his babysitter, the 10 year old speaks passionately about wanting to do more daring experiments in the future.
“My favourites are the ones where stuff explodes,” Jordan said. “But a lot of the equipment I need, I can’t get in Canada. I want to make a liquid magnet, but can’t get stuff to do it now,” he added
Still, his work and story have not only been attracting new fans and subscribers each day, but also attracting the interest of talk shows and media outlets from both sides of the border.
Unfortunately, his postings occasionally draw the odd negative comment, poking fun at his work or the way he talks. At one point, Jordan wanted to quit posting videos, for fear of being teased.
“Both Stacy and I asked him not to give up and that some people are going to be mean no matter what,” said Ms Leparulo.
“What meant most to Jordan and really kept him going is that a lot of people posted back and were sticking up for him and encouraging him; telling him that he’s an inspiration,” she added.
So, it appears Doctor Mad Science is here to stay and with his science support system around him, Jordan is OK with his newfound celebrity.
“I want to be a scientist when I grow up and do more crazy things, like with bunson burners and stuff,” he said.
“The reaction to his videos and his improvement has been amazing. He still gets a little nervous talking to the media, but he loves doing his thing on Youtube and Google +,” said Ms Leparulo.
“What is it that we say Jordan!?”
“Science is everywhere,” they said in unison.
For more information and fill article visit THE RICHMOND HILL LIBERAL http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1398588--lab-inspires-autistic-richmond-hill-boy
Angela Mulholland, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, Jul. 5, 2012 9:00AM EDT
Jordan Hilkowitz is a 10-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. who has built a remarkable following on YouTube by filming kid-friendly science experiments.
What’s even more remarkable is that Jordan is autistic and, until five years ago, barely spoke at all.
Jordan, better known as Doctor Mad Science, scripts his own experiments and then enthusiastically performs them in front of a camera with the help of his mother. He then helps her edit the clips and loads them onto YouTube.
His infectious scientific wonderment has earned Jordan’s videos more than 1.5 million views. He now has 3,800 subscribers to his YouTube channel, close to 2,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook and a growing Twitter following. And all in just over a year.
Jordan’s family says their son was always interested in science. Even as a preschooler, he collected rocks, worked on circuits and, once installed pulleys all over his house.
But until he was five, he spoke only rarely. That all changed last year, when his babysitter, Tracy, suggested that instead of just performing messy experiments at home, they film some of them and get them online.
“One day, Tracy and I went on YouTube and we realized that with a bunch of crazy chemicals that we can find, we could make these items that teach kids that science is everywhere,” Jordan told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday.
Tracy thought the process would force Jordan to work on his speech and perhaps, gain some confidence. She was right on both counts.
“There’s been a huge transformation,” Tracy says.
“He has more confidence, he has so many friends, all his friends at school now are asking him how to do their own experiments, talking to him online. The stories that we get and the comments that we hear on Facebook and Twitter and our website are remarkable. Jordan is just transformed.”
While Jordan and Tracy spoke with Canada AM, they demonstrated what happens when yeast, hydrogen peroxide, liquid soap and food colour get together. (The answer: a huge, bubbling colourful mess.)
Jordan’s online videos are just the latest example of what autistic kids can learn to do once they are handed the tools of social media.
Carly Fleischmann, a high school student from Toronto, is another example. Though she is fully non-verbal, she has learned to communicate with her computer, building her own following on Twitter and Facebook as well.
For researchers in autism, these kids are offering intriguing new insights into how technology and social media can help “unlock” the voices of non-verbal children with autism.
Globe and Mail Ottawa - June 21, 2012
From the silence of autism, a world of discovery
Globe and Mail Toronto, June 21, 2012
Social media helping autistic children ‘navigate the world’
Social media helping autistic children ‘navigate the world’
But a growing number of children and young adults are harnessing the power of social media to bring them out of their shells, bolster their confidence and tell their stories – giving scientists a new and potentially transformative avenue to explore in the already extensive field of autism research.
Autistic children have long been drawn to technology, but what is it about these new forms of social media that changes behaviour?
“That part is very much a mystery. But it’s certainly attracting the attention of researchers,” said Peter Szatmari, a leading autism researcher, who is the head of child psychiatry and behavioural neuroscience at McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ont.
One theory, Dr. Szatmari said, is that the human face doesn’t have the same drawing power for an autistic child, and that something about technology triggers the motivation that’s lacking in face-to-face contact. “This can really have a big impact in helping people with ASD navigate the world and be able to do things that we never thought possible before,” he said.
Marc Sirkin, vice-president of social marketing at Autism Speaks, an advocacy group in the United States, said Jordan and others are using social media in such astounding ways that those who work with them are forced to take a second look. Carly Fleischmann, a non-verbal autistic teen from Toronto, for example, tweets about her disorder and other topics to more than 24,000 followers, and Nichole Lee, a 21-year-old from Utah, has a YouTube channel where she posts video blogs and speaks about autism.
“We think about people with disabilities [as] being intellectually disabled. As it turns out, there’s a large part of the autism community that’s not intellectually disabled. They’re just unable to communicate,” Mr. Sirkin said.
Jordan began posting science experiments on YouTube a year ago with the help of a babysitter. His interest in science came at an early age – he collected rocks, worked on circuits and, at one point, installed pulleys all over his house. When his focus turned to experiments, his babysitter suggested he appear on camera because she thought it would force him to work on his speech and perhaps gain confidence. Jordan searches for kid-friendly science experiments online, conducts them before the camera, and helps edit the videos. He’s made about $2,200 through his YouTube business, with the goal of earning enough to buy a Macbook.
For Jordan’s mother, the greater value is emotional.
Stacey Hilkowitz remembered that she once needed the help of security guards at the mall to remove Jordan when he was having a screaming fit, and how he would smash his head against the floor. “I’m so embarrassed,” Jordan piped in, covering his face with his hands. Ms. Hilkowitz quickly turned the conversation to how Jordan has changed, crediting that transformation to his appearances on YouTube. He’s loud and confident, his speech has improved, he has friends, and even served some time in school detention this year. “I know it sounds funny, but those are the types of things we want to see,” said Ms. Hilkowitz, who has an older daughter also diagnosed with autism.
“This is a good year for you, Jordan, a very good year,” she said to her son.
Sometimes Jordan has wanted to quit. He has been hurt by comments about his voice and the fact that he doesn’t enunciate well.
These days, Ms. Hilkowitz deletes damaging comments early in the morning. Viewers try to boost his confidence as well. “Six dislikes?????? Don’t worry you can always knock back their job applications in twenty years time,” one wrote.
Jordan is buoyed by those comments. “It really gets to people,” he said. “Like with my disability, it really gets people realizing that anyone can do [anything].”
York Regional District School Board June 2012 Special Edition
I am featured as a success story in my school boards newsletter. The Special Edition supports staff who work with students with exceptional learning needs.
Thank You York Region District School Board!
HARVEY'S FAN OF THE GAME- TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
I was named Harvey's Fan of The Game at the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Game. Thank You Harvey's and MLSE!
SIFE RYERSON at SIFE NATIONAL COMPETITION in Calgary, Alberta.
I was featured by Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Ryerson, as the youngest entrepreneur they have helped in their StartMeUp Ryerson Program. SIFE Ryerson has helped me with DoctorMadScience from the very beginning when I needed support the most. Thank You So Much SIFE Ryerson for helping me TURN MY IDEA INTO REALITY!