This weekend while working with Emma on her literacy program I showed her an index card with the words – Put the bus here – written on it. I then pointed to a place on the table to the right of her and waited. A frog, airplane, bus and kid were all laid out in front of her. Without hesitation she picked up the bus and placed it where I was pointing. Were Emma a neuro-typical nine year old child this would not elicit the inward gasp of excitement I found unable to stifle. But Emma is not a neuro-typical nine year old child. Emma is a moderately autistic child with massive pervasive neurological issues affecting her speech, imagination, reasoning, ability to conceptualize, communicate, initiate and interact. To witness her reading and understanding what she’s just read with an action demonstrating comprehension is nothing short of miraculous.
And it fills me with hope.
If Emma is capable of reading, then it stands to reason she will be able to write as well. What will she choose to write about? What does she think about? How does she feel? Is she aware of her differences? Does she wish she had friends the way her brother Nic does? Does she know communicating is more difficult for her than for other people? What is it like to be Emma?
Other autistic children and adults, many of them non-verbal have found ways to communicate to us about their world.
One such person is Carly Fleishmann, a non-verbal autistic teenager who has found her voice through typing and now has her own blog: Carly’s Voice
I cannot know what the future holds for Emma. What I do know is that if we continue to do everything in our power to help her, she will one day be able to answer our questions and communicate with us. One day Emma will be able to let us in. One day…
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism go to: EmmasHopeBook