Think you don’t have anything in common with people who have autism?
MTV wants you to think again.
Brad and Kenny Benjamin live with their parents in Bowie, Md., and are taking steps towards greater independence – they’re learning to shop for groceries and cook their own meals, preparing to get their driver’s licenses and increasing their social interaction by throwing a dinner party.
In addition to wanting jobs and girlfriends, “We want what lots of people want,” Kenny says, and both brothers aim to increase awareness of autism.
“We want the people to show great respect for autistic people,” Brad, 24, tells PEOPLE. “Not to be called names. We have the same problems as other normal people do. We have challenges that can make it harder.”
“We’re smart, we’re fun and we’re polite,” Brad says. “My bro’s nervous about being on TV because people might make fun of him. So am I. ‘Cause people aren’t always kind to us. They should be kind to all people who have autism.”
“I just hope that people could understand that people with autism need some love and caring,” Kenny, 23, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, adds. “Not to treat autism as a curse, but just different and special.”
In this exclusive clip, Colin, a friend and mentor of the Benjamins, tries to encourage the brothers to break their fast-food habit for a night and cook their own pizza.
“Brad and Kenny are really cool guys,” Colin says. “They love having fun. Each time I hang out with them, I go home with a little more of a kid’s side of me.”
True Life Presents: The Benjamins airs April 26 at 7 p.m.