My Speech at the Mental Health Advocacy Services Celebration

I am truly honored to be standing here tonight receiving this recognition. I am honored to be here with our District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, too. It is a reminder that advocates can be high school students or politicians, or anyone else. We just need to care deeply about a cause.

As you look at me, some of you must be wondering if I really wrote my speech.
After all, you’ve probably heard that most nonverbal autistic people have low cognition, no insight, no theory of mind, no inner world and poor receptive language.

Guess who told you that? It wasn’t people with autism, that’s for sure.

I have a very misunderstood condition. My disability is caused by my brain’s faulty linkage to my motor system. So truly, I think and understand though I may look like I don’t. Add to that a sensory system that is malfunctioning, and you have an idea how tough it can be.

The truth is, autism itself is easier than the incorrect assumptions by the so-called experts and specialists out there. A locked-in, motor impaired, sensory overwhelmed child cannot escape this on his own. Consequently, few nonverbal autistic people learn to communicate. Experts comfort themselves that we can’t communicate because we don’t understand.

I got fed up with this, because all around me are smart autistic people dying of boredom and loneliness, not able to communicate one idea more sophisticated than a basic need.

My decision at twelve was to speak out and correct this misinformation.

I was denied an education in elementary school because of the expert opinion that an academic curriculum was beyond my intellectual abilities. Now I am an AP student in 12th grade, ready to go to college next year. If my parents had listened to my experts I would still be stagnating in 1+2=3 expectations.

Things are changing gradually. Other autistic typers are speaking out too. We face resistance by people who believe theories over truth. But in time I know that the current paradigm will be discarded, like so many other incorrect theories, and the nonverbal will at last have a voice in their futures.

Thank you.

15 responses to “My Speech at the Mental Health Advocacy Services Celebration

  1. Ido, you are my hero. You, along with the intelligent non-verbal autistic students I am so honored to work with and advocate for. Little by little and together we will overcome the misguided myths about autism!

  2. Helen Hillix-Di Santo

    Bravo! Thanks for helping us understand reality.

  3. Ido, Wonderful speech. My 11 year old son who has autism and very smart with motor challenges like you. He loved your speech and wants to join you to fight this cause. We will together fight and get your voices heard.

  4. Thankyou for your dedication, persistence and efforts to have the world understand. It takes time to change perceptions – your words continue to help me become a better teacher and an informed carer.

  5. le blet laurence

    Magnifique Ido ! so powerfull ! things may change and you are one of those who will change paradigms

  6. Ido, I read many books on autism since my twin boys were diagnosed with autism last year, and yours was the most helpful. Your book gave me the confidence to trust my instincts and question the ABA experts who were in my house. My two boys are very different. I suspect that one is very much like you. How do I know if he has motor challenges which prevent him from communicating? How can I best help him at his young age (3)?

  7. Brilliant! Thank you, Ido.

  8. Bravo, Ido! I thoroughly enjoyed this speech and your wonderful book. By the way, I taught university-level writing for 20+ years, and my students rarely wrote any better than you do! Thanks for all you do and all the best, RRobertson

  9. Bless you!!! I work with a nonverbal autistic 12 year old and know he understands and is capable of so much. I will do anything to help him be able to communicate. I am so glad you are getting the word out. Thanks for all you do!

  10. Beautifully said, Ido. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition, and thank you for always being there for us when we needed your wisdom and encouragement!

  11. Hi ido
    We place world tomorrow in better hands with speaking out today. Teaching autistic people to communicate is important. As a nonverbal student with Autism I was also denied education. My frustration is that as autistic people we are thought to be idiots. It saddens me that my sensory state is thought to be deficient. But my mind can discover patterns others cant. My dream is. To become astrophysicist. I hope more of soma students speak out . Thankyou for your courage.

  12. Pingback: O discurso de Ido Kedar | Autismo in Translation

  13. Pingback: Ido Kedar’s Speech | Autismo in Translation

  14. Beautifully said Ido! I’m looking forward to hearing more from you in 2015 and at the Profectum Conference in March! Thank you, as always, for enlightening us.

  15. Ido, I love your Blog and your story, I find them so inspiring! I know there are plenty of skeptics and non believers out there, but i for sure am not one of them. and working in the field of special education, I can tell you there are many other believers out there too! Yes, there are skeptics as well, but I think it is time to stop focusing on them. i think its time to start focusing on those people who do realize what you’re saying is true and who want to help. I’m sure there are so many of us who know and love a child with autism and we know in our souls that they are “in there” and we are desperately seeking ways to help them come out and ‘talk’ to us! We need people like you to give advice, direction, ideas, insight. What works, what doesn’t? Forget the people who are saying “those are not his real thoughts” and Answer the people who are asking, “What can I do to help?”
    Thank you for your blog and for reading my response : )

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