The minute I think I finally am starting to understand autism better, I am approached with the story of Carly Fleischmann, the young autistic girl from Toronto Canada whose story has completely blown me away. Carly cannot speak in the “conventional” way but boy does she have a lot to say! Diagnosed with autism at an early age, Carly began intense therapies to try to ease the fits and to be able to speak. Nothing seemed to be working until one day she began typing. Suddenly Carly had a voice and could communicate what she felt inside. A seemingly mentally disabled young girl used her written words to prove to (and shock) everyone around her, including her twin sister, that there was a whole world of intelligence just locked up in her body. I watched the interview on ABC with awe and total disbelief. I encourage all of you to do the same.
Carly writes beautifully and has a wit about her that is infectious. She tweeted this on the 19th of September:
So I have big big big huge news. Oprah has decided to come back to television and put me on her show and book club. JUST JOKING . I do have big and wonderful news. The book about my life is now on Amazon for pre sale. I am hoping we can make this book a bestseller even though my dad helped write it. LOL
http://bit.ly/oh6NGg - http://twitter.com/#!/CarlysVoice (and you should absolutely follow her)
I laughed. A lot. She’s socially aware, able to make jokes, pokes fun at her father; she’s a normal teenager by all accounts. Had I not known she had autism, I would not have guessed based on this post.
Carly also has a blog that she writes. It’s called Carly’s Voice | Changing the World of Autism and she is doing just that. In a table turning moment, Carly actually interviews Merideth Vieira and does a beautiful job asking appropriate and thought provoking questions.
Since watching the interview above, I can’t stop thinking about what I saw. Are all non-verbal people with autism like this? Are they all innately intelligent and just stuck in a body that won’t allow them to express their thoughts? Does this completely change how we view autism and what causes it? And my last question is, why haven’t I heard about this earlier? Why don’t we hear about this more in the autism community? I completely changes the perception of autism. What if there are people with autism out there who have been given up on but all they needed was a different form of communication to use? Carly has shattered everything I thought I knew about autism and opened my eyes to a world of possibilities and what if’s.
Keeping up with Carly
Read her blog: http://carlysvoice.com/
Follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CarlysVoice
Check out her YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarlyFleischmann