One small word for Sandra: One giant leap for Autism

(January 9/17)

There is a story on Facebook today about a young autistic teenage girl, Carly Fleischmann, who everyone thought was dumb because she couldn’t speak. What makes it worse is that her twin sister is what we call normal. Every day she had a reminder of what she was supposed to be like and constant inferences from others that she had been written off as nonsensical, even moderately retarded by a psychologist.

That is until three years ago when someone introduced her to a computer and the magic of writing. Her first words were “hurt” and “help.” When she found her beat, her pace, Toronto’s 14-year-old Carly introduced herself to the world and dispelled many myths about autism.

“I am autistic, but that’s not who I am. Take time to know me, before you judge me,” she wrote. “I am cute, funny and like to have fun.”

She described herself as being an intelligent person stuck in a body that does what it wants. It flails, jumps, rocks, tantrums and makes strange noises quite independent of her will. Her only control is to erupt into kinesthetic outbursts to block out the overwhelming world of sound and sense. She described herself as being stuck in a body that burns.

Perhaps that there are messages locked inside all of us that may disable us mentally, emotionally or even physically.

Today, one year later, she is happier, calmer, and more independent and the world is the wiser for it because she wrote about her experience.

What does this say to us about the act of writing/journaling? Perhaps that there are messages locked inside all of us that may disable us mentally, emotionally or even physically. That journaling offers us the opportunity to rummage through our mental haystack and find that one needle, that gem of an idea, that seed of hope that can change our lives and offer us an opportunity to contribute more to the world.

As Carly writes, “Everyone has a voice. I found a way to let mine out.”

Young Carly has published a book, Carly’s Voice, has a blog, is writing a novel and has her own YouTube talk show series, “Speechless with Carly Fleischmann.”

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