Sarah Dunstan of 10A
presented the following, moving persuasive oral as a role play.
At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioural and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at the age of ten, she had a breakthrough. While working with her devoted therapists Howie and Barb, Carly reached over to their laptop and typed in "HELP TEETH HURT."
This is Carly's journey toward self-realization.
(These introductory words are an extract from Carly's blog.)
I am Carly and as long as I can remember I’ve been diagnosed with autism. I have always been treated differently in the mainstream system. All ‘strange’ people have. I do want to know, whose fault is it? Whose fault is it that I don’t get the same rights as others? Whose fault is it that my opinion gets looked over? Whose fault is it, mine or yours? I am not able to talk out of my mouth. My thoughts seem so clear in my head but once they get to my mouth they are all jumbled up. No matter how hard I try I can’t get my brain and mouth to work together. This means I am classified as non-verbal but I have found a way for my voice to be heard.
The best way for me to communicate is by typing on my computer. Because I lack the skills to do something as simple as holding a pen I use one finger to type on my Ipad. I do know a little sign language but it is easier for me to type. Being able to spell out what I want has been a breakthrough in the autistic world. I used to think I was the only kid with autism who communicates by spelling but last year I met a group of kids that communicate the same way. In fact some are even faster at typing then I am. It was amazing for me to ‘talk’ to people that understand and appreciate me. This is a big deal for me because at my mainstream high school it’s hard for people to get to know me. They always get scared off when I’m stimming. This is when I try to make noise myself that will block out all the other sounds around me. Sometimes I get overwhelmed when too much is going on and I need to block everything out so I can focus. Some people think I am being rude when they are talking and I start stimming, but really I’m just trying to make what they are saying clearer so I can understand them better. I also find it incredibly hard to look at people for a long time.
My brain works like a camera taking a thousand pictures at once. If I look at the same thing for too long my brain gets overloaded with pictures of the same thing and I can’t help but look away to help calm myself down.
The last couple of years have been amazing for me. I have been doing well at school and have been including in some advanced classes. I have been extending not only my knowledge but others too on the world of Autism and helping others understand. But not all are as willing to accept that the people who once didn’t have a voice now do.
I know I can’t have the same emotional connections as others can but my parents and my sister love me and I love them, just in a different way. Some define humans as people who can have relationships with others but that is not fair. I do have connections with my family, my friends, my therapists and everyone in the autistic world. It’s just not visible, it’s in my head. I can’t show you that I love them and care for them but I know in my heart that I do.
I find it so degrading when I am treated differently. I know I am different and some things need to be altered to suit me but not by much. When I am travelling on a plane everyone else can have their phones and laptops on airplane mode but I have to turn my Ipad off. The one thing I have to communicate. My Ipad is like a prosthetic limb to me not a toy. Why is it that everyone else can keep communicating and I can’t? What if I needed to warn someone that I was going to have a seizure? It’s so unfair that I don’t get the right to speak. I want … I need my voice to be heard so I can help others. All I want is to be normal and live a standard life. That is all I dream about but that is never going to happen. So I need to make the most of what I have got and use it for good, to help make a change.
My story is making its way around the globe as I and many others conquer the world of autism. I have been getting lots of emails from mums, dads, kids and people from different countries asking me all sorts of questions about autism. I think people get a lot of their information from so-called experts but I think what happens is that experts can’t give an explanation to certain questions.
How can you explain something you have not experienced?
How can you say you know how it feels?
I have always said, if a horse is sick, you don’t ask a fish what’s wrong with the horse.
You go right to the horse’s mouth.
Carly Fleischmann is a real person.
She is featured on the website of the Golden Hat Foundation HERE.
Carly on Facebook is HERE.