Job seeking with Autism (My Perfect Family: Hunter)
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Job seeking with Autism (My Perfect Family: Hunter)

January 24, 2020

* (JAUNTY, UPBEAT MUSIC) (MUSIC CONTINUES) (GRUNTS) (GRUNTS) I better let them out. All right, ladies, out you go! (CHICKENS CLUCK) (CHUCKLES) Score! Three eggs. Three. My mum makes some superb eggs
with these things, and I always top it off with some
Kaitaia Fire for good measure. (RELAXED JAZZ MUSIC) How many did we get?
Three! Good girls. Come on. A Peggy, a Polly and a Milly. The Milly is the— Look at that.
She makes such big eggs. Tell me about it.
Yes, put them in the
egg tray in the bread bin. Roger, roger.
Thank you, hon. Good work, girls.
Copyright Able 2019 (CHICKENS CLUCK QUIETLY) Just as well we’ve got
some guests coming. Ooh! Yay!
Whoa. Business is booming. Well, the egg business is. Don’t
think we’re gonna make a fortune
out of that, though. (CHUCKLES) Well, something is
better than nothing, no matter how miniscule
the profit is. Yeah, that’s true. We have an Airbnb, and it’s
very romantically called
The Pearl of Whakatiwai. (LAUGHS) We call it the detox unit,
cos that’s what my father used to
call it as a, kind of, joke. Yeah, hon, what’s your job?
To make the bed. Yep. That’s about it. I’m the cleaner.
She’s the cleaner; I’m the maker.
Yeah. Well, now that Mr Sunshine’s
off the beach,…
(CHUCKLES) …want me to take her for a walk?
I walk fast. Try to keep up. Come on, Shep! (BARKS) (LIGHT, INTRIGUING MUSIC) My name is Hunter MacGregor,
and I function on the high end of
the autistic spectrum. So, he went off to
this paediatrician,
who shall remain nameless. While I wasn’t really
expecting anything bad… He did a little hearing test
before that. She sat with him and asked for
15 minutes, and then she said, ‘Well, um, your son’s autistic.
I’m sorry, what’s your name again?’ There was no, like, ‘Now, there,
there.’ It was like this bomb
had got dropped on me, and then she got up and
left the room. It was like,
‘Whoa. How’s that for…?’ It wasn’t a really good way to
deliver something like that. Anyway, that was shattering,
because I didn’t really know what
I was going to be dealing with, and I was a single parent,
basically. Come on. I was diagnosed with autism when
I was 2 years old, and this
horrified my family, because rumour has it that autism
itself is a mental disability. Autistic spectrum disorder…
I can’t explain it. People
don’t know what it is, really. No one… They still don’t know
what causes it. It’s a spectrum, like a rainbow, and, you know, there
are genius people who are autistic;
there are not genius people who are— It’s like the so-called ‘normal’
spectrum. It’s just a vast variety
of different-ness. But I guess the most… obvious thing about it is that he is quite odd, and he doesn’t have fabulous
social skills. But he is,
actually, quite social. This is her playground. She can do
whatever she likes out here,
running along the rocky beach. Chasing seagulls, chasing birds
is her favourite thing to do.
You know, buzzing them for kicks. He’s just funny and
interesting and wonderful. But I had to start looking at things
from the perspective of
how his life was gonna be. And, you know, I knew that he didn’t
have any friends, you know. He
didn’t want any friends, basically. I think when you’re autistic,
you don’t know how to develop
a social circle where that kind of thing happens, and I can’t do that for him. I can’t
ring people up and say, ‘Hey, could
you come down and play with Hunter?’ (CHUCKLES) (WATER SPRAYS) The weird and unfortunate thing is
that that hasn’t stopped, because,
you know, Hunter is still Hunter, and I’m so glad he is, but, you know, we’re both getting
older, and he’s really worried and
anxious about what he’s going to do. Come on, Shep. We’re almost home free! (GENTLE MUSIC) (CLUCKS) Ew! See what I mean about
the windows, though?
Dirtier on the inside. But we can’t blast them in here.
No, but I have to— That’s my
least favourite job in the world. Oh, no, cleaning the oven’s
the worst job. Because poor Hunter’s eyesight
is not good enough for him to
see dirt around the place, so that’s why I’m the cleaner,
and he’s the maker. I mow the lawns. Whenever
Hunter mows the lawns,… And I get the—
…it’s like a series of Mohawks, and so I have to go and
do it all again anyway. You’re good at firing up the
lawnmower. That is something
I’m not good at. So together we’re like the perfect
team. He can start the lawnmover;
I can mow the lawns. Right?
Yeah, and what— and if— and this week I was able to
pull out some very stubborn weeds. Their roots grew deep.
They did. They did.
But I showed ’em who’s boss, even though I felt like giving up.
You sure did. Intruder, intruder!
You’re not allowed in here.
Polly, not in my bedroom! (CLUCKS) Polly, if you crap on the carpet,
there’ll be trouble. Polly. I’ll pick her up.
(SHEP BARKS IN DISTANCE) Polly, here. Here, Polly. OK.
(SHEP BARKS) It’s all right. It’s all right,
Polly. It’s OK. There’s a good chicken.
I’ll seal the door.
Yeah, seal the door. You’re a good chicken, but you’re
not allowed in the house.
(SHEP BARKS) There is a little chore
I have for you, which is the phoenix palm fronds —
more have fallen on to the lawn. Oh, those. Those. No sweat. I’ll deal with them. (LIGHT, INTRIGUING MUSIC) I can’t even describe my
relationship with Hunter, because
we’re like— we’re one unit. We’re… We’re like an entity, you know.
It’s me and Hunter. That’s the way it is. (INTRIGUING MUSIC CONTINUES) * (CHEERFUL MUSIC) HUNTER: What I like about
this place — it used to
belong to my grandfather. It was a bit run down
when we moved in here. We were able to modernise our home
after the fire, and now it looks
better than ever from the inside. It sure is peaceful, and it’s got
a neat view of the firth. Would you look at that! (BIRDSONG) Whoops. I almost forgot. Ever since I’ve got my degree of
creative technologies, we’ve lived
down here for three years. It is much farther away from society
than we bargained for.
(MACHINE HUMS) I mostly just hang out with her and make sure that we’re taking
a step forward in finding
myself employment. (STEAM HISSES) (SNIFFS) (SIGHS) Who wants a flat white?
Anyone? (LIVELY MUSIC) We made up a breakfast and bed
establishment here so that we would
earn some money from our visitors, who would appreciate
our view of the firth and all the hospitality
we have to offer. Typical — off by a few degrees. Way below par!
(CHUCKLES) I should’ve sent you to the army,
then you would’ve been good at
making beds. Maybe you should send me
to a bed maker’s shop…
or something like that. (GRUNTS) All the same. Can’t be perfect,
if you catch my drift.
Pull it down a bit at that end. Huh?
You can be perfect. No, that way, that way, that way.
Huh? That way. That way. Pull the sheet
that way. There you go. That’s it. You can’t afford to live in
Auckland, and here, at least,
we can afford to be here. He kind of likes it here,
I think. He’s… Yeah, I think he does like it here. At first, he really hated
being stuck in the boonies, but all I had to do was make sure
he had a really powerful internet
connection, and he was fine. So we’ve got this massive, huge,
I don’t know how many gigabytes
pouring into here, which we would’ve needed to do
anyway for the Airbnb guests. But, I mean, yeah, as long as
he’s plugged in, he’s fine. Hey, ma, where are
the bottom sheets? Oh, you mean pillowcases?
That’s right.
Hang on. Um, one second. Sorry about that. Thank you, ma.
Slipped my mind. Right. Where was I? He’s got a great, big,
glorious brain. I know. I wish he would have an opportunity
to do something good with it. The last time we did some filming, he had been offered to do a degree at
Media Design School,
which is a really good school. My very first idea for a game is
Zodiac Quest: The Will of the Stars.
Mm-hm. You probably noticed that big
painting behind my computer. That’s my original game idea —
the very first. Didn’t quite make it off the ground. So, the story goes something
like this — the world of Zodia;
everyone’s happy. The star glyph provides them—
The star glyph, that thing in the
middle there — the middle there — it provides the world with colours
power. But then Afukis comes along,
destroys the glyph, scatters the star stones —
Zodia falls into disarray. That alone is what convinced me to
take up MDS and receive my degree
of Creative Technologies, which is right there on the wall. First things first —
I have to find— Well, if I’m gonna make this— make this a reality, I would have to find myself a job
out there in the field first. You know, join the battle,
if you pardon the metaphor. Yeah, I do want to
get myself out there, but… what if I bungle and get
booted from the battlefield? That would be a serious disgrace.
But what am I worried about? Now that you’re going through
this whole trying to get
some employment thing, I have to help you through
the rejection phase. Yeah. You can’t avoid the bitter
sting of rejection, now, can ya? But, hey, if you found a job
in the media industry,
I don’t see why I can’t. Right, but I’m not a
high-functioning autistic person. Mm. And I have good eyesight. So you’ve got a couple of biggies —
big hurdles that are not necessarily
helping your case, which I think is unfair, but it’s…
…true. Anyway, it’s not the… It’s not the end of the world
if you never get a job, because you can still do
what you love doing. And as long as you’re enjoying life,
that’s the main thing.
Yeah. I had no idea she is going through
the same stress that I am
trying to find employment. Are you sure you have cold feet? It’s not that I have cold feet;
I just— it’s just everything
that you go through, I am feeling. It’s like I’m your invisible… My other brain.
Not your other brain, but it’s like I’m your invisible
other you, sort of. I’m not exactly invisible,
but you know what I mean.
Mm. I’m there for you, kiddo. That’s what I mean. You’re not doing this on your own.
I’m never alone, am I?
No,… you’re not. And if all else fails,
you can have Shep. (LAUGHS) I think the ideal environment
for Hunter would be… to be with a group of… people who are… conceptualising
characters and games. But whether or not he can crack into
that kind of realm, I don’t know.
It’s a big ask. He doesn’t have really great coding
skills, or, you know, he’s not fast
with his animation. But he understands the entire
process now, which is good. Ha! So much blood! (CHUCKLES) * (INTRIGUING MUSIC) ROIMATA: Always— With Hunter,
and anyone on the autistic spectrum, anxiety’s always going to be
a big issue. And Hunter has had— You know,
he’s actually been able to
battle his anxiety. And the whole thing about going to
Media Design School was huge for him
in terms of giving him confidence. The fact that he did that,
that he would get himself there
and get himself back and do it and be there
and get his degree —
massive achievement for him. He can be anxious about
the most ridiculous things. Like, ‘Oh my God. I’ve heard the Yen
is falling. Is this going to be
the end of Nintendo?’ And it’ll freak him out for a day
or something. You know,
it’s that kind of thing. And it’s not something I can really
talk him through and say, ‘Listen,
don’t worry about it. It’ll…’ He will worry about it.
He worries about crazy stuff. He worries about storms, like that
big storm we had. That was freaky. He’s been worried about having
another one of those. SIGHS: He worries…
He just worries. (BRIGHT, CURIOUS MUSIC) Uh, he was just
kind of cute, really. He was really cute. He was… He could be quite distant,
though, but… He was just a placid— A lot of— A placid baby. A lot of—
A lot of autistic kids are quite… They run around. You know, a lot of
them are hyperactive and run. Some of them are runners and that,
so it’s really scary for people
because… they can just go, disappear. But
Hunter never did anything like that. Apart from on the beach, when— But
he knew I was behind him, probably. And he’s the best travelling
companion. We’ve travelled a bit,
cos… One of the things— When we
got our second opinion about
Hunter’s original diagnosis, Professor Werry said the best bit of
advice I ever got, which was, ‘Don’t
let him get stuck in routine.’ And, fortunately, at that time
I was working in a job where
I could afford to travel, so Hunter and I travelled
everywhere. We went all over
the place — India three times. And so that was great,
because he’s really not—
never has been stuck on routine. (LIGHT-HEARTED MUSIC) He’s never really seen himself as
being different. He’s never, I don’t think,
worried about it. The thing that makes him feel
most different is the fact that
he’s got terrible eyesight because of the acute hydrocephalus
he had as a — thank you, not! —
double whammy when he was 13. Damaged the optic nerve. And so, you
know, he’s pretty partially blind. So that’s the thing that makes him
feel more different to people. He would’ve loved to have been able
to drive, but he can’t see
for (BLEEP). I mean, he can’t see
very well. (CHUCKLES) (BIRDSONG) (CHUCKLES) When it comes to
things like looking for a job, he’s never ever looked on Seek
or anything like that. He needs constant motivation.
But once he’s there in front of
something and doing it, he’s great. He’s just, like— He needs guidance, like a missile. Um, hello. Hello!
MAN: Hey, Hunter. How’s it going?
Good, mate. Um, and how’s all the—? How’s all the arts and
crafts coming along?
Pretty good, Hunter. Pretty good, mate.
Have you come down to do
a little bit with me today? Well, it’s just that my mum has this
idea of using this place as a studio for guests who want to hone
their artistic skills.
Cool. Write me a word on there without an
‘I’ in it, or a sentence not using
an ‘I’. We’ll see what we can do. My name’s Tony Johnston,
and I live in Kaiaua. I used to live at the lodge
with Hunter some time ago, but I’m living down the road
and using this place as
my current studio. Roi’s suggested that we have a
Airbnb experience based out of
the studio in the future, maybe in
two or three months’ time, and I think there’s a place there
for Hunter to work with me and with anybody that would like to
get involved in the project.
Yeah, sure. What does that read?
It reads ‘Hunter’. Now, you’ve got an option here,
Hunter — do you want to leave it
plain like that, or do you want to put
some decoration on it? I’ll just leave it plain, like this.
Cool. OK. (CHEERFUL MUSIC) I don’t know my own strength! I had
no idea I had that much artistic
potential in me. I mean, look at my door sign. (CHUCKLES)
That’s pretty good, Hunter. You’ve
done a really good job, man. You really think so?
I do. Yeah, I do. I think you’ve
done a really good job. You’ve got really good spacing,
and you’ve got them nice and even, which is very hard to do freehand
with stamps — very hard. And you’ve
done real good, man. Real good. Yikes! That’s high praise. How did it go with Tony?
Oh, it was great. It was pretty—
It was fun, all right. Fun?!
Crikey, that’s extreme. Well, we—
What did you decide?
Well, for once, I made some cups and
a sign for my den. Good grief! All that
in that short time?
Yes. I don’t think I help Hunter,
actually, a lot in that, because,… I mean, you know, I am as isolated
here as he is, and I have become
a little hermity, so I think I’m a
bad influence on him. I think that he probably needs to be
dragged out of his shell a bit more. I mean, it’s not gonna happen
down here. But if he moved— You know, if he had a job, then that
would probably happen naturally. Ooh, look at those toadstools. I worry for him, and that’s the
reason why I want him to be doing
something that he loves doing and to be more independent, even
though it will break my heart,
because I love having him around, but I have to let him go if
he gets an opportunity to go. Hopes for Hunter would be that
he just, like— There’s obviously the one thing that
everybody hopes for their children,
is that he’s happy. I would like him to fall in love
with another gorgeous, slightly
geeky woman or guy or whatever, and (CHUCKLES) be living in an
environment where he can be happy and cook with somebody else (LAUGHS) and ultimately be… feel secure. Yep. (BRIGHT, UPBEAT MUSIC) Captions by Chelsea Brady. Captions were made with the
support of NZ On Air.
Copyright Able 2019 Attitude was made with
funding from NZ On Air.

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  1. This was a very good video for us to see. Our daughter is 9 and watching you guys has us thinking much further ahead now. Thanks for sharing this with everybody!!!! Amazing view

  2. This was so nice to watch. What a wonderful relationship between mother and son. This is a beautiful story and I wish them happiness.😊

  3. I love his personality and how he talks. Him and his mom seem so kind and I would love to come to their Airbnb just to meet them.

  4. One of my best friends is just like hunter down to the snazzy dialogue I’ve never meet anyone like my friend before but we get along because we are both special needs and understand each other.

  5. I don’t know if I could stay at an Air BnB with a cat walking in the counters and eating near the espresso machine. And chickens in the house sick🤢🤮

  6. I have an autistic cousin and he has the same blunt way of talking as Hunter. I love him to death. He has a heart of gold and comes out with funny things just when we all need a laugh. This mother and son are adorable.

  7. Wow! Live in U.K., and ‘am getting on’ in years but I would definitely love to stay with these lovely people at their air b&b if I visited NZ😊

  8. "He would've loved to have been able to drive, but he can't see for sh*t….I mean- he can't see very well" 😂😂😂hahahhahaha oh my god

  9. I used to work at a place called Spectrum Productions in Montreal, Canada and we taught autistic youth how to make movies and other media related things. Hunter reminds me a lot of the people I worked with and how smart, genuine, and talented they all were. Thanks Hunter and Roi, you're both wonderful.

  10. Seems like this video is mainly a job application, presenting his skills, shortcomings and what he’d like to do. (Especially as mom mentioned that the last video got him an opportunity to get a degree.) Hope he gets something soon. They are both sweet people.

  11. I love the way he talks and seems so confident in himself. Definitely good parenting there, I hope he can find the job he so desperately wants!!!

  12. I saw Hunter before on another video and I LOVED him then and he's even more amazing now! This made my night! I want him to be my friend

  13. Omg I love hunter he does have a big wonderful, talented, amazing mind and as for his mother 😍 such a beautiful strong woman ❤

  14. This is my son. he is 25 and is on the high end of the scale. He is very high functioning but will never be able to live on his own. People don't know how to deal with him when they first meet him. He seems perfectly normal and then the more he speaks the more odd he seems.

  15. I really enjoy this style of documentary. You're getting to know the people, their daily life, hopes but also struggles. It conveys so much positivity! As a new trainee in documentary production myself this is something to look up to! Stories should be told like this! Well done! And Hunter and his mom are really cool people! Good luck to them! (:

  16. My little brother is Autistic. He's a lovely young man and very affectionate. He does have issues with anger and disappointment, so much so that you have to restrain him sometimes. He gets nervous easily too. He also stutters at times and takes a while to get his sentences out. He had to go through a lot of therapy as well. It's been like this his whole life and as long as I can remember. So it's really nothing strange to me, I forget he even has autism most of the time. He's just my very loud little brother who won't stop singing heathens by twenty one pilots.

  17. Oh my gosh I ADORE these two!!! What a beautiful family. I could picture myself as a friend of Hunter and Roi if geography would allow <3

  18. I also love his voice! And what is the matter with spectrum people and braids, LOL. I also have a braid right now.

  19. Hunter is an amazing smart guy with such a great sense of humour ! Good for him he has a degree ! His flat white coffee looks so good 😊… Great job single parenting to the mum …I’ve always wanted to go too Auckland it’s on my bucket list I’ll definitely stay at this BNB …❤️from Canada 🇨🇦

  20. This is beautifully filmed and exquisitely edited. Kudos and well done to the film artists behind this piece. It's a bonus that the family is so delightful too.

  21. I remember Hunter from the episode with Paula Bennett in the car. I can see Hunter has so much to offer , but unfortunately, I don't know why employers don't .

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