Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Window into Autism

Have you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon? It is a popular novel from 2003, written in the voice of a 15-year old boy with Asperger's syndrome and for me, really opened a window of understanding into what it's like to have a brain that is so differently wired.

 Carly Fleischmann is an 18 year old student in Toronto who is non-verbal. She has a normal twin sister, but Carly, diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 2, was not able to communicate with anyone until she was 11 and needed help. Thanks to the many therapies that she had undergone over the years, she was able to type the word, "help" and from that moment on the world changed for her and everyone around her.

Her dad has written a book, Carly's Voice, with her help (she wrote the final chapter herself). Here are a couple of Carly-videos that help to illuminate the autism experience.



Carly has a blog and is active in social media. She is of above-average intelligence and it seems a shame that so many people talk down to her, even now. She does all of her own typing, but with difficulty, since her motor skills are haphazard (that's why, as a child, she was unable to communicate with sign language).

Carly now communicates with a type-to-computer-to-voice program (what is that called anyway?) and has appeared in public numerous times, including on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and on other news journal programs in the US and Canada.
On the website, Carly's Voice , Carly has answered some questions and the answers may surprise you.

In September Carly will become an Arts student at the University of Toronto, with hopes of eventually becoming a journalist. I have a feeling that news will be more interesting from her point of view.