Thursday, August 6, 2009

Carly's Voice

This is the blog of a 14 year old autistic girl who learned to type on the computer to communicate, even though she can't speak. I read about her about a year ago, but it was just up on ABC news and I didn't know she had a blog then! This ABC article mentioned the critics that don't believe she is the one doing the typing, that her mother does it for her, etc,. But even without the video she added to her blog showing that she is the one actually doing the typing, anyone at all connected with someone with autism knows that "just making them" type is impossible. They have to want to! Really. Sunny will not, no matter what, type in "Sesame Street" as long as she can find any other method possible...and she has found every other method possible :D

here's the ABC article, too:

This article also mentioned that Carly's breakthrough was most likely the result of thousands of dollars worth of intensive therapy. This could be true in her case, but I don't believe it's a necessity. Sunny is already communicating quite well for a 4-year-old with autism, and her neurologist said she was trying to communicate so much that it was "tantalyzing, almost like Curious George....", where you know exactly what he means and wants, but he's not technically telling you, is he?
We are Sunny's therapists: me, my other sister, and my mom. The one and only time we took her to a speech therapist, the therapist first of all ignored when Sunny was saying real words, if it wasn't the word that the therapist specifically asked her to say! Scenario: Therapist asks her to say "banana", and holds up toy banana. Sunny picks up toy cheese, and says "I want the cheese". A full sentence! Imagine!! You would think a speech therapist would be ecstatic over this! But no. Certainly, it wasn't the word she was asked to say, but would you not consider this progress? You can't make them communicate by forcing them to make it easier for you to understand, you actually need to put out a smidgen of effort too! But that's not all. The therapist then took on the role of advising us on what we've been calling henceforth "detachment therapy". She started off with, "Well, she's going to be 5 next year, time to break the bonds and send her off to school!"; this is exactly what she said. Now, if this doesn't render you speechless, I don't know what will.
So, all in all, spending thousands of dollars on therapy may help you and the child...or it might not. Mostly, I think it depends on the home environment. We are very close, and very flexible and adaptable, which seems to work very well for Sunny, but no autistic children are exactly alike - there is no 'one size fits all' glove tag.~

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