“So Many Kids are Just Like Me”

“I am smarter than most people think.  So many kids are just like me.”

Emma wrote this yesterday in response to my question, “What would you like teachers, who want to teach Autistic kids, to know?”

There are a number of young people who write to communicate things that they cannot with spoken words, just as Emma does.  Many of them are starting blogs of their own, some have parents who have blogs and like Emma they are beginning to take ownership of those blogs.  On the “Resources” page here on Emma’s Hope Book I’ve listed a great many blogs beginning with those written by non-speakers, or people who write to communicate.

When Emma wrote “so many kids are just like me” I thought about how when Emma was diagnosed I knew of none (of any age) who wrote to communicate.  The entire concept was completely foreign to me.  In fact, and I hate admitting this, I hadn’t spent any time considering neurology, literacy, language, or which parts of the brain process language.  I remember being confused by the idea that someone who didn’t speak, could still read.  I’ve come a long way!

I would like to take the opportunity to list here just a few blogs that I personally know of where people around or near Emma’s age are writing to communicate.  This is by no means a comprehensive list and I welcome any additions, which I will add here and on the resources page as they come in.

Oliver – Day Sixty-Seven
Philip – Faith, Hope and Love… With Autism 
Aidan
Cindi’s Blog
Henry Frost – Ollibean
Matteo – Matteo’s Loving Blog
Ido – Ido in Autismland
Joey Lowenstein
Nick – Teen Typer

“So many kids are just like me…”

Emma with her friend Henry ~ January 30, 2014

Emma with her friend Henry ~ January 30, 2014

32 responses to ““So Many Kids are Just Like Me”

  1. Yes, dear Emma, many kids are just like you…very intelligent and a bright shining star that this world has yet to discover! ❤

  2. Thank you for all the links…not sure if its just bc I’m using mobile version but can’t figure out how to follow any of them lol (im terrible about remembering if i dont get notifications). As ive said before hearing what kids have to say about autism, school, etc is very helpful because they’re in the moments E will be in in a few short years 🙂

  3. Hi from Ibbia! Emma you are awesome! I love seeing you in the movies and can’t wait to see you again in real life! Love, Ibby

  4. Thank you so much for the video. I am going to show it to Katrina. Emma you are awesome!

  5. Mara Leibler Faden

    Ariane & Emma I loved watching this. You guys are terrific!

  6. I’m so excited to see the FIRST VIDEO Ariane has posted of Emma writing with her! If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth a lot more! (Note: the sound level is really low and the picture is compressed, but we will repost a better version later)

    Unless you are autistic and communicate in similar ways, or are a parent or educator with a great deal of experience in this–it’s quite a revelation to actually witness the enormous difference between Emma’s spoken language and her writing for the first time (for me it is every time!).

    It’s also very clear watching this, how much hard work it is for Emma to write just a couple sentences. To my mind, these are some of the most important aspects people should consider when viewing the video:

    – Imagine how painful and frustrating it is for Emma and all the other kids like her to be looked down upon, underestimated so completely, teased and bullied, called horrible names, or stared at “like garbage” (as Emma has said before).

    – Imagine having such an amazing mind…having so much to say, but no means of “saying it.”

    – Imagine yourself as a parent, never knowing that your child was brilliant and interacting with your child at a level far below her capabilities.

    – Imagine how difficult it is to convince educators–even those who have been working with autistic children for years–that many of the children they regard as “low functioning” have, in fact, incredibly intelligent, insightful minds.

    Teachers need to know there is a lot more they have to learn about autism and their autistic students in order to properly teach and support them.

    That is why Ariane asked the question and why Emma wrote her answer.

    That is why I hope that many people will share this and talk about it, so more people can understand, and change the way people think about autism and interact with autistic people.

  7. I love the video! Thank you, Emma, for sharing with us. I love you, Emma.

    • Aw… thank you so much. You know after we taped it, I watched it and thought, oh no! I’m rushing her, I shouldn’t do that. But it’s good for me to see, so that I can see what I’m doing wrong. I was so aware that we were being taped and I was feeling anxious about it being too long and usually we are more playful… so yeah. I’m so glad people are being so nice in the comments, I was feeling very critical of myself.

  8. thank you! its more like a million words for me! You are such a great family and every entry of your blog is changing me. Its 6am here and I am going to have a wonderful day with my autistic child!
    thank you Emma for being so brave.

  9. Emma the powerful activist! Sooooo love this. Thank you, Emma and Ariane. Will you let us know if we might be able to use this video clip to help others understand? Obviously, I will share it on my site, but maybe Norm and I can help this powerful message to go further through our presentations? But obviously we want to be respectful of where and how you want your voice represented, Emma.

    • I just spoke with Emma about this. She says yes, but I would like to make a new clip for your presentations and will post it next week if you don’t mind waiting. Also if you have a question specific to your presentation, tell me.

    • Hi Emma, we haven’t had time to upload a new clip, so please feel free to use this one, we just ask that you give the link to this blog when showing. Thanks so much.

  10. LOVE the video! YAY Emma! Keep bringing your knowledge to the light for others to see 🙂

  11. It was very hard watching that video and thinking what it would be like if it took so much time and effort to communicate my thoughts. It’s one thing to read how long it took Emma to write something; quite another to see her doing it. It has made me realize how much I take my facility in typing for granted.

    • ❤ It was for this very reason that I was happy when Emma suggested we “put it on the blog!” There is nothing like seeing… no amount of describing, no matter how well phrased, can replace the impact of watching the process in real time.

  12. Hi from Australia! Really enjoy your posts. You might like to add http://thetruebenkingston.blogspot.com.au/ to your list of bloggers who type to communicate.

  13. Wow.
    Thank you Emma and Ariane.
    Emma, as I was watching, it seemed to me that I could see you having to slow down and collect your thoughts to find the letters/words you needed/wanted.
    Also as I watched I was straining with you (just a little bit) and thinking there must be other ways to create words/communicate thoughts.
    A few minutes later the creative problem solving part of my mind kicked in and I started wondering (not suggesting specifically, just wondering in general) about using a more physical alphabet, like the magnetic ones. Of course this would have it’s own set of difficulties and barriers. (As a preschool teacher I was always somewhat frustrated with the lack of duplicate letters in those sets.) My mind loves to come up with alternative solutions/ideas. Not all of them work.

  14. Do not know any nonverbal person like me in real life. But. Internet allows to see words of others. Like me. To make self not feel like such a freak. To read of others who type to “talk” who are intelligent too. And. For recognition of how much effort “talking” can demand even with ability to type. It is so important.

  15. Thank you, Emma and Ariane! Having a clip to show educators and others we speak to would be so helpful. Seeing and hearing you, Emma, would be very powerful. (We speak all over the world, so it would have a lot of range!)

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  17. I came back today to see the video because I wanted to see RPM and Emma in action. Typing in any form to communicate can be painstakingly slow both to do and watch…but if the alternative is no communication at all then more than worth it imo. I have often considered spending a day ONLY speaking with Es AAC. That’s the closest i can come to experiencing what we’re asking HIM at 4 to do. I’d stick to juice and snacks too :/ I tried just for a few minutes, and being an adult with no motor planning issues and able to spell quickly to use the word finder it would probably take me just as long as it did in the video to write the same sentence. Keep it up Emma we love hearing what you have to say!

  18. This is so incredibly beautiful. Thank you, Emma. You are changing how others think. My name is MaryAnn, I am Tommy Des Brisay’s mom. Tommy is autistic and he is 22 years old. Tommy could type words and read before he could speak. He had very occasional verbal words before he was about 7, and at around 7 he started to be more able to write, and also speak a few words. Over the next few years, he began to speak more, gradually. He also became more and more able to type. He learned a lot of language by reading the subtitles to his Disney movies 🙂 Reading and writing are still his favorite way to chat with others, and he loves Facebook for that reason. You can get to know him on his YouTube channel “lookyus” and his website Autism Means Friendship. Ariane- I’ve visited your blog for some time now, and seeing Emma’s writing makes me sooo happy! Thank you for sharing your journey as her mom, as a family, and giving her the tools to share her journey with us, too. Hugs ❤

  19. Wow!! Wow!! I am absolutely thrilled to be able to see this video, which I missed on my first read. Thank you, Emma and Ariane, for sharing! Thank you, Emma, for your powerful message! ♥

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  21. Yes, Emma, there are lots of kids like you. I started typing with one young man who was feeling all alone in what he was doing. We found a friend who lives 150 miles away and the two of them got together from time to time to “chat.” It’s about 7 years later and we now have a group of 10 to 15 teens and adults who gather monthly with their facilitators and various devices for a very popular Social Group. We’ve outgrown two different meeting rooms and need more space. It’s wonderful!!!!

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