I notice the media is suddenly writing about typers. See here in USA Today and here in the Chicago Tribune. I am pleased to see the attention, but curious too, though the trend is definitely interesting. More and more autistic people are communicating daily. The status quo is slowly moving in the right direction.
I know we are a long way from a new way of educating people with autism. ABA is still the default “gold standard” but despite this, somehow our silent voices are starting to be heard.
In terms of advocacy, some people are starting organizations. One family has started a new organization called Point to Freedom. They want to be loud and proud about their son’s success in learning to type to communicate and with his journey, to hopefully inspire other families to realize that typing to communicate may be possible for them too. I am proud of the son’s accomplishments expressing his lovely and powerful thoughts and also proud of my mom who taught him to communicate. May he go far with this freedom.
Finally, as I have written about previously, the civil rights of nonspeaking and limited speaking people is at last being addressed by the important new civil rights organization, Communication First.
Though there remains much to do, change is afoot. I believe the trend is toward liberation. In time the truth will prevail.
This moving radio story is one too familiar to me. Hari Srinivasan is a kind of fellow traveller in two worlds. I congratulate him for his huge accomplishments. I have known the reporter Lee Romney my entire life and I guess you can tell she gets it. She actually edited both my books so by now she understands the challenges of nonspeaking autistic people remarkably well and it shows. The difference between Hari’s current life and his former training in ABA is stark. It is incredible how offensive I found it listening to the jolly infantile voices its practitioners used in the brief segment that described ABA in the program. Ugh. But it is important to show that popular treatment that so misses the mark in order to compare it to the great success of Hari once he found another way.
Please be sure to listen and not just read!
Welcome to WSJ readers! I am honored you took the time to check out my blog.
Here is a link to my opinion piece in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. (Apologies- it is behind a paywall).
Not talking is not the same as not thinking.
The converse is also true.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association, or ASHA, insists that the true voice of nonspeaking autistic people is best left to pictogram systems and garbled speech.
Here is their brief video statement.
Here are films of people with autism who have broken free by learning the methods ASHA disdains. Please note, there are motor challenges in autism, as evident in the films.
Here is a link to an organization of professionals, autistic people, families and others who dispute this harsh judgment and believe the communication of these individuals is their “true voice.” Take a look at the different films and decide for yourselves which seems more logical- a mistaken autistic person not understanding his own disability, or a potentially mistaken professional.
To gain an insider’s POV into autism, please consider reading my books, In Two Worlds and Ido in Autismland.
Thank you for visiting my blog.
Posted in advocacy, American Speech Language Hearing Association, ASHA, autism education, autism theories, autism treatments, barriers, Communication, speech therapy, typers, Wall Street Journal