One of Rebecca’s friends has a daughter who is autistic, and through the years as Rebecca has often cared for the child so that the parents could have respite, I have observed the extreme challenge such a child presents. I have seen the child screaming and so out of control that Rebecca must physically restrain and hold her. She is of a higher functioning level than some and speaks in a limited way. Her parents are dedicated to her recovery and have tried special schools, home schooling, medication and unique diets. At times there has seemed to be progress–at other moments all seems futile. Having this limited experience with autism, I am especially pleased to read of the tremendous success another young lady is having as she deals with this mysterious, debilitating condition.
Carly Fleischman has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough. Through the means of a computer, she commicates with intellect, clarity and passion. She speaks of her fears, frustrations and other feelings. This is a tremendous stepforward that is of immediate promise to the thousands of families so affected.
From ABC News is this article and very moving video.
“It feels like my legs are on first and a million ants are crawling up my arms,” Carly said through the computer.
Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.
“We were stunned,” Carly’s father Arthur Fleischmann said. “We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her.” This is what Carly wants people to know about autism.
“It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can’t talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them.” “Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential,” Arthur Fleischman said.
Therapists say the key lesson from Carly’s story is for families to never give up and to be ever creative in helping children with autism find their voice.
“If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn’t have the child we have today. We would have written her off. We would have assumed the worst. We would have never seen how she could write these things —
What a remarkable development this is, virtually releasing the soul of Carly Fleischmann, and giving us a look inside her probing mind.
My devotional blog is here.