Communication Changes Lives- The Poet

I have never met Sami Kadah, nor did I know about him and his poetry exploring his life with autism, until his communication partner, Jeff, wrote to me.

Sami was locked inside with no communication for 23 years and he has been typing for two. It seems he has a lot to say. He says it in poetry form. In his poems, he opens his soul to pour out how autism controls his life. He writes so that each word matters. He is stingy with his words. They each say a lot.

Sami hurts from autism and he is worth reading. Communication changes lives, for sure.

Number 15, by Sami Kadah 

I am superstitious.
I am also religious.

I am smart.
I am also an idiot.

I want help.
I am also helpless.

I want to be independent.
I am also incredibly needy.

I am intentionally thoughtful.
I am also unpredictably impulsive.

I am physically affectionate.
I am also agressive and violent.

I am human.
I am also autistic.

5 responses to “Communication Changes Lives- The Poet

  1. Ido, Who would you recommend to do TriAnnual Assessments for a 10 year old child that has severe motor planning issues, limited verbal language and is just starting to type? We are in Southern California.

  2. Hi there Ido,
    I reached out to you several months ago after reading your book. I believe I gave you the kudos you deserved and kind of left it at that. To be honest, I was in my last year as an undergrad as a liberal studies major. For my interdisciplinary studies, I chose special education. I had been a paraprofessional (special ed assistant, health care assistant…) for ten years in the valley (your valley!).
    I have since made it into the district intern program and have gotten a position at Northridge Middle School. Most of my experience is in elementary, and even preschool, so the switch to secondary has been brand new! The five students in my class have autism, but as all individuals are different, they too have different symptoms of autism. I remember reading about how frustrating you thought it was that ASD has become a blanket term used to categorize people even when they exhibit totally different signs and symptoms. I am against labeling students as being high or low functioning and I don’t think that it is fair to lump any individual into a classification in order to make sense of the services needed to support them.
    The LAUSD does not us RPM as an adopted strategy to teach communication. In fact, other than where it says “functional communication” on IEPs, this skill is barely recognized as being a necessary skill. Speech is what society has always used to determine cognition levels, and I do not agree with that either.
    I am not entirely sure what I want to ask you specifically. Maybe I am just venting my frustrations with being thrown into a situation that I am obviously not properly trained for. I am doing the very best that I can given the resources I have. I have spent these first 3 weeks of school trying to get to know my students; what they are interested in, what makes them smile, and to show them how important they are to me-not as students with autism, but as people.
    I would very much like to join HALO and even go to the training with Soma in Texas one day. After reading and rereading your book, I recognize how important communication is and how all the other academic rigor can only be realized once communication is established.
    In my classroom, 4/5 of my students are what you would consider, “trapped inside themselves” or stuck in Autismland. I am willing to put in the work, and I am thankful to you for having the courage to persevere in your quest to let the world know that people with autism are very much alive, and very individual. Thank you for reading my rant!

    • Hey Ben, I would encourage you to join the Face book group #seemeseemyaac. AAC through motivate, model, move out of my way. It’s members include teachers, other professionals and parents all working with AAC users. So many great ideas.

  3. I’m going on right now to join-thanks Sy!

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