I often think about that first time I saw someone who was unable to express themselves through spoken language, but who spoke through writing. There is nothing quite like seeing to believe or at least to begin to believe what many of us have been told is impossible. So I’ve compiled a few Youtube videos of different people who communicate the way Emma does. A couple of them show people who have graduated from the laminated letter board and now type independently on a stationary keyboard. This is our goal and what Emma is working toward. For those who may feel someone holding a laminated letter board is cumbersome and suspect, please keep in mind the letter board is a stepping stone, which all hope will eventually lead to full independence.
The first video is of Ido who now types independently on a keyboard. Ido’s blog is Ido in Autismland where, in a recent post, A Challenge to Autism Professionals, he wrote:
“The theories regarding autism have been based on observation of our odd behaviors. Lists of these behaviors make a diagnosis. I have limited independence in selfcare. I have limited eye contact. I have flat affect often. I can’t express my ideas verbally. I have poor fine motor control. I have impaired initiation. I have impaired gross motor control. I have difficulty controlling intense emotions. I have impulse control challenges and self stimulatory behavior.”
At the end of this terrific post he writes:
“Thousands of autistic people like me live life in isolation and loneliness, denied education, condemned to baby talk and high fives, and never able to express a thought. The price of assuming that nonverbal people with autism have impaired thinking is a high one to families and to people who live in solitary confinement within their own bodies. It is high time professionals rethought their theories.”
Ido wrote a book with the same title as his blog – Ido in Autismland. I cannot recommend this book enough and have written about it before ‘here‘ and ‘here.’ It should be required reading for all parents with an Autistic child as well as anyone who is considering entering or is already in the field of special education and/or autism.
This second Youtube video is of a boy who writes a letter to his church.
Jackie Dorhurst is a speech/language pathologist shown here working with Gavin. Jackie has an organization called RPM+ located in Wisconsin.
This next video is of my friend Sue Finnes’s son Chris. Sue has a wealth of videos that she’s posted on Youtube over the years of Chris working with a number of people whom she’s trained to work with him.
And finally this video is of another independent typer, Mitch Helt who writes a letter to his aide.
This post was inspired by a comment from Ari, who has a wonderful blog, Pixie Perceptions. You are not alone Ari. Doing all I can to make sure others realize this…