Tomorrow’s Presentation

Emma and I are giving an hour-long presentation tomorrow at the ICare4Autism Conference.  We have been discussing our presentation and while I would be most comfortable writing everything out and basically reading from index cards, Emma has proposed that we do a much looser, more fluid type of presentation, one where I introduce us and then she will type some thoughts about the topic she chose, My Body Does not Obey My Mind, I will respond, she will type something else and on it goes, ending with questions from the audience.

Emma wrote, “How about making this presentation more meaningful by having me talk and then writing an answer to a question and showing them what we mean when we use the words “body/mind disconnect”?

I asked her if she was okay if I brought up the topic of stimming too.  Emma wrote, “Maybe we start with something less controversial like nice questions about the weather.”

I said, “You mean I ask you a question about the weather and then wait for you to give a spoken answer? And then after you’ve said something, you will type an answer to show the difference in real-time?”

Emma replied, “You ask me a simple question like – How do you like the weather today? – because talkers like that sort of thing.”

So to practice, I said to her, “What do you think of the weather today?”  Emma said, “Pool!”

“So that’s a good example, right?” I asked.

Emma then typed, “Beautiful blue skies with whispering air that rustling leaves answer.”

I said, “That is such a perfect example of what you’ve been talking about.  What else?”

“Vanity will be put aside so that others may learn,” Emma wrote.

When I suggested I write what I would say in response, Emma wrote, “How about you talk about how my talking voice confused you and made you think what I said was my intention?”

I told Emma this way of presenting is nerve-wracking for me, but that I think it will make for a far more compelling and powerful presentation.  She then typed, “You can lean on me.”  I told her I will be practicing mindfulness and breathing to relax.  Emma wrote, “Good work, Mommy.  I will be right next to you lending support.”

I’m counting on it, Emma.  I’m counting on it.

Emma and Me

Emma and Me

39 responses to “Tomorrow’s Presentation

  1. I am so sorry I will miss your presentation I so wanted to be there but couldn’t make the travel work to attend the conference. Best of luck although I’m sure you won’t need it, it sounds like your message speaks for itself. Thank you as always for sharing your story.

  2. Fascinating dialogue. Thanks for sharing. I believe we all speak a different language from one another because no two people can possibly think exactly alike. Each one of us has more neurons than there are stars in the universe so one person can never replicate the thought patterns of another. I believe understanding how every single human thinks completely uniquely from every other one will help us develop more human theories of personality. Your work with Emma is helping show uniqueness of thought in a concrete and compelling way. Thanks again!

  3. Emma! Hi! Hi Ariane! Double love!

  4. You guys are going to be great! That will be an engaging presentation style, interesting to watch and powerful as a teaching tool. Can’t wait to hear how terrific it was!

  5. Interactive presentations with people who “speak” to the audience by typing or spelling are not only very powerful because of the content but also because of the way that the messages to the audience unfold. The audience gains an understanding of the process of communication. Go Emma!

    • I will be thinking of you, Larry, Tracy and Harvey, Pascal! It was, after all, a presentation you guys gave that put me on this path! Now here we are… this is Emma’s presentation, not mine, so with that in mind I will contain my nervousness!

  6. It’s amazing how our children push us to widen our boundaries. Good luck to you both 🙂

  7. You are a great team! Have a great presentation!

  8. This is such an important message to get out to people.

  9. That is a pretty brilliant demonstration of the topic. Can you ask Emma if she has noticed any improvements in her talking language since she has become fluent in RPM (or regressions, or no difference at all)? I heard that Tito Mukhopadhyay uses some speech for communication now but I don’t know effective it is for him.

    • I will ask Emma, though it would be impossible to know what might cause an increase in spoken language as there are so many factors including age, maturity, less stress, less anxiety, having all emphasis on speech removed etc.

      • Ariane, yes, I am particularly wondering if the decrease in anxiety, stress, and emphasis on speech has any effect on speech itself. So many non-verbal autistic kids desire speech. It will be different for every one of them course, but I am trying to get an idea of how realistic speech is for the non-verbal or innapropriate verbal kids.

  10. This is just amazing! Love your beautiful relationship and Emma’s bravery. We will be sending positive thoughts your way.

  11. This post is just fascinating. I love how Emma communicates (both ways). I’m sure your presentation will be fantastic. Best of luck to you both. #YouCanLeanOnMe

  12. Emma gets so poetic. I’ve noticed that pattern in a number of nonverbal & late-verbal people. I wonder if it comes from their introspection or from reading poetry, or both or other.

    • I think when spoken language is not available, when one cannot converse by speaking words, the typed output reflects an intensely creative mind that is in tune with the other senses in ways that we, talkers, cannot know or be attune to. Those of us who talk to connect, to form bonds, learn to filter so much out in order to do so. At least this is what I think may be going on…

  13. Love to you both! I wish I could be there! ❤

  14. Did you see Elizabeth Vosseller’s post on the unlocking voices fb page yesterday? It was a similar story about a boy named Ian at a baseball game with his family. He said ‘car’ so dad thought he wanted to leave, but he was able to spell and let them know how much he was enjoying himself.

  15. What a fantastic way to illustrate the body/mind disconnect. Emma you are amazing. I think this will be a very powerful presentation.

  16. ❤ you both!

    Emma, I think that's a wonderful way to go about it. Ariane, I'm sure you and Emma will do a great job; and like she said, she's there for you to lean on!

    🙂 tagAught

  17. Fascinating…and yet so familiar to what we’ve been seeing in the ACCESS Academy ( classroom this summer! Some of our students could give a similar presentation. We’ll be cheering you on tomorrow, Emma (and Mom)! So very proud of your advocacy. Maybe you can visit us someday soon!

  18. She is my hero. Truly. Tahnk you both.

  19. it will be a grand event, and transforming… have fun!

  20. Hope the presentation went well. And that the two of you were able to open the minds (and ears) of those in attendance.

  21. Sandra Chandler

    How might I obtain a video recording of the presentation?

    • Sandra – once we’ve uploaded it, it will be available on our youtube channel –

      I don’t know how long it will take us as it is about an hour and we’ll do an edited version as well as an uncut version. We will also make several clips that are about ten to fifteen minutes long apiece. I will definitely post them on the blog as we make them.

  22. lilytigerheart

    Would have loved to have been there! I’m sure it was an absolute success! Because of my confidence in both of you, I’m going to say Congrats Emma and Ariane! ❤ 🙂

    • Thank you so much everyone. Emma was just wonderful. Earlier this morning Emma wrote to me, “Don’t worry, I will be charming and will have your back.” And she was. And she did.
      I am one proud, proud mama.
      Will write more about all of this tomorrow…

  23. Wonderful!

  24. Pingback: Autism ≠ Developmental Delay | Emma's Hope Book

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