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Autistic boy's alter ego on YouTube: Meet Doctor Mad Science

August 12, 2012|By Deborah Netburn

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.

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