The incredible Chris Ulmer of Special Books by Special Kids sat down with Alexandra Birch, a 22 year old Dallas woman with Williams Syndrome. The disorder is caused by a genetic abnormality that affects many parts of the body, both physically and mentally. One of the trademark features of Williams Syndrome is an extreme friendliness and a high level of sociability, both of which Alexandra embodied fully.
Alexandra spoke very comfortably with Ulmer about her life, her feelings, her school experience, her constant need to smile and her family. Alexandra’s sister Victoria joined in and it was clear that the sisters share an incredible bond despite living several states away from each other. When Ulmer asked what she wanted to tell the world, Alexandra responded that hugging helps because she loves hugs. She also explained that people with Williams Syndrome are very sensitive and sometimes have trouble making friends.
Alexandra is diagnosed with Williams syndrome, a condition known to cause a friendly personality. She has an unconditional love for people, but it is not always returned. Alexandra sometimes wishes she was “normal” so that she could better fit in and have an easier time making friends.
Another day another friend! I treasure the opportunity to meet so many diverse people and hear their perspectives. pic.twitter.com/ot0s0A9Y6f
— Chris Ulmer (SBSK) (@chrisulmer) September 18, 2019
Special Books by Special Kids is a truly inspirational video channel that features interviews with people within the disability/neurodiversity community “with the intention of creating a more inclusive world”.
SBSK started when I was a teacher for students with disabilities/cognitive differences. My students and I set out to publish a book in which they shared what life is like from their perspective. We hoped that this would help educate others on what it is like to live with a disability. No publishers were interested so we then started creating videos. Soon, people around the world started emailing me asking if I could interview them also. Although the medium has changed, the idea remains the same.