Autistic 13 yr. old explains what having Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is like

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Feb. 19, 2008
    Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough.


    Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice.

    "All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. "It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."

    Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism and why she makes odd noises or why she hits herself.
    "It feels like my legs are on first and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly said through the computer.

    Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.

    "We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism.

    "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." "Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," Arthur Fleischman said.

    Therapists say the key lesson from Carly's story is for families to never give up and to be ever creative in helping children with autism find their voice.

    "If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn't have the child we have today. We would have written her off. We would have assumed the worst. We would have never seen how she could write these things —
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this MWM. I'm glad Carly found a way to interact, she sounds like a very gifted and interesting person. :)
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's like I always say - with our Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, we have to constantly think outside the square and meet the kids where they are. I despair when I see parents who have given up on their kids, who neglect them intellectually and emotionally because they've simply accepted some blanket diagnosis that the child is severely impaired and will never be able to interact.

    We were told difficult child 3 could never attend a normal school and would never learn except by rote; he wasn't really intellectually capable, he was simply mimicking intelligence. If we'd listened to that and accepted it, we would have stopped stimulating him then and there; stopped expecting him to be able to learn, certainly not sent him to a mainstream school. We would have stopped treating him as an intelligent, thinking human being.

    We are at that stage now in the school year (early) where there are still new teachers who don't know him, making his acquaintance over the phone. Meanwhile others who DO know him are not surprised to get a phone call which begins with, "Sir, in that last online test there is a problem in Question 2 that you need to fix, it keeps marking me wrong and that's not good."
    Some people who don't know him could take offence at this manner, but all he is doing is reporting an observed problem with the self-assurance that he is correct and the computer software package is flawed. That degree of self-confidence would be seen by some as arrogance, but it is part of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    We should never give up on our children if our instincts tell us otherwise.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I found it fascinating to hear what this non-verbal child had to "say" when she typed. I especially liked and believed her advice that "Your child probably knows more than you think he does." I know my son knows A LOT.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Fascinating.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks for posting. This amazes me.

    I recently read a wonderful book much like this young lady. The book was started before the boy started "speaking". He writes the final chapter. Amazing book, called "Reasonable People" by Ralph Savarese.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    On another channel, just for autistic kids/parents, a non-verbal woman posts. She can not speak and everyone, she says, looks at her and thinks "challenged mentally." She is very bright and has a website and a video (she appears very autistic). It is fascinating to k now how bright t hese kids are and what is inside of them. THis young woman lives in an apartment with help, but she asks us why we think that this is an inferior lifestyle. She's happy. Her posts are amazing.