Danielle Degelman

Carly’s Voice

Posted on: March 12, 2011

Carly Fleischmann is a fourteen-year old girl who was diagnosed with autism when she was three. She is not like other kids her own age. “When you’re told your child is going to be developmentally delayed, that they might achieve the developmental level of a six-year old, it’s like being kicked in the gut”, shares Carly’s father. The following YouTube video describes autism even further, along with Carly’s early intervention (40-60 hours/week of one-to-one therapy).

Carly cannot speak as a result of her autism. However, technology has allowed her to find her “inner voice” and express herself as an individual:

As explained at 3:25, “Carly ran to a computer for the first time and what happened next was a breakthrough so profound it would finally pierce Carly’s silent, secret world”. With many long hours of intervention, Carly learned how to type on her own. Technology has allowed Carly to have power over her environment and break out of her own body. For example, she learned how to communicate in chatrooms, created her own blog and Twitters regularly, and is currently writing a novel.

Not only did technology change Carly’s life, but her family started to understand who she really is–not an autistic child, but a cute and funny girl who likes to have fun. As said by Carly’s own father, “I stopped looking at her as a disabled person, and started looking at her as a sassy, mischievous teenage girl”. Here, you can visit Carly’s blog to learn more about her. Remember, she is an individual who has interests, dreams, and goals just like you. Carly is certainly an inspiration for other children, parents, and teachers alike.

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9 Responses to "Carly’s Voice"

Thanks so much for outlining and sharing this!

Oh, and related – have you ever seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnylM1hI2jc

Thanks for sharing this with me. As teachers, we definitely need to be patient when listening to students who have autism. It really takes an open mind to do this!

Wow, this is so much like a student I currently have who is autistic. He doesn’t talk. But this year, he started emailing me and another teacher on our staff, and everyone was shocked. It’s the first time, in all of his schooling, that he’s ever communicated with a teacher.

So I have email conversations with him everyday. And it’s really interesting. Sometime he types songs for me. Sometimes he makes me laugh; yesterday he asked if I could bring him a coffee when I came to class. But it’s neat to see him reach out for the first time. Thanks for this great post!

I remember watching that video on 60 minutes here. If you are interested in Autism, one of my friends has a rather insightful blog from the prospective as a mum of a son with autism.
http://autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Danielle. I don’t know why this hasn’t been bigger news! It’s at least equivalent to finding life on Mars. I’m now gonig to find her blog and follow her on twitter!

Hi Danielle,
I follow the feeds through your professor in my Google Reader. This is the first time I had seen this video. When I encounter autistic children, I will be sure to remember this. I’m glad you posted it!
Ann

Thanks for commenting everybody!

I saw this video and was so inspired. To think that it took this young girl so long to find her voice, but now that she can share her thought with us we can see how intelligent she is. I think that it is wonderful that she was able to share her voice because through this she was able to explain what she was feeling. I can’t imagine how many of our students who cannot communicate, possibly because they have not found the right medium, are going through that unbareable pain, or would be able to explain to us what we needed to do to help and understand them. It is a dream to let everyone have that chance to communicate in any form that they need to.

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"Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation." -- John F. Kennedy

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