Category Archives: importance of education

In the Author’s Voice interview and More!

I wanted to share this radio interview interview my mom and I did on WSIU-FM, NPR with Jeff Williams for his show In the Author’s Voice.
In it, I discus autism, my books and more!
WSIU-FM Jeff Williams Interview

I also wanted to share with you this article I wrote for Between the Lines Book Blog.

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.

Valuing Your Education

My Spanish teacher had a meltdown in class a few weeks ago. Lots of kids were rude and disrespectful to her. She said, “I quit,” sat down and did nothing. After that, until I got switched to another Spanish class, we had subs. I actually wanted to learn Spanish and she was nice to me so I felt disappointed when this happened. She burned out in front of us. 
I have been wondering why the students in that class had such terrible attitudes. I realize some have difficult home lives or have homes that don’t focus on learning, but to me the indifference to learning is puzzling. In my case, I fought so hard to be allowed to learn and to have a career one day. How come they waste their chance to get an education? It makes me very sad because the kids are decent people. They are nice to me and treat me with decency, but they are not nice to the teacher and don’t respect her. But I think even sadder is their lack of respect for their own futures. I think they can’t imagine that better things will come if they try.
I was imprisoned by my body and trapped with no education in school year after year when I was small. I know that an education is a gift, but they feel it is a prison. I wish I could help them to see how to value it.