How a girl with Autism expresses unimaginable intelligence

Often it is perceived that non verbal children with autism are mentally challenged and  have no hope of getting a job or expressing themselves. This story about Carly, changes everything.

Autistic Carly

Carly experienced severe delays in the early part of her life which prevented her from walking and sitting up. Lacking the ability to speak she seemed lost in her own world. Upon consultation with Doctors was severely autistic and likely to be mentally retarded. Her parents were told she may only attain the  developmental level of a 6 year old.

Given the opportunity to admit her to a group home her parents declined instead seeking early intervention. This consisted of intensive therapy of 40-60 hours per week working one on one with a therapist. Part of this involved being taught to type on a computer keyboard one letter at a time. The typing was incentivized with a reward system. Eventually at the age of 11, Carly begin to express herself fluently using this method.

Through the use of the computer keyboard, Carly she can actually explain what its like to be severely autistic. Explaining things like why she can’t make eye contact and what its like to experience sensory processing issues. She also began to explain some of the commonly misunderstood behaviors exhibited by those with Autism. The progress that she made gives hope for many, showing that through using tools such as a computer, its possible to express the inner voice without using speech.

Let us know what you think, leave us a comment below

Leslie Burby

Leslie Burby

Leslie Burby is a former Editor of Autism Parenting Magazine and a public speaker on autism related issues. She is the author of three autism related books: Emotional Mastery for Adult's with Autism (2013); Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers, Infants and Babies (2014); and the children's book Grace Figures Out School (2014).

  • Avatar sue amit says:

    We love this story, everyone should be given the chance to express themselves. This opens up a whole new world for Carly

    Heart of the South Care agency Limited

  • Avatar Timothy Moriaty says:

    thank you for sharing your story that is awesome! I am the dad of three children with severe autism all non verbal and we are in the process of teaching them at home and school how to use an ipad and also a computer keyboard! we can never give up hope ! I would love to share my story with others as well one day !

    • Avatar Casey says:

      I encourage you to attend the 2016 Rethinking Autism Conference to hear the research that is explaining why kids with severe autism are often nonverbal and unreliable to communicate through traditional autism supports. Meet many self advocates who have overcome the struggle to communicate and gain access a true education.

  • Avatar philmageo says:

    We’d like to how more about her.

  • Think there may be many non verbal, high functioning children with autism. We need a message of hope and optimism concerning autism. So glad she received early intervention and had loving parents willing to commit the time and energy into helping their daughter. Michangelo suggested that a statue was inside every block of stone and thst it was the sculptor’s task to unveil the “angel in the marble.” New ways of thinking about autism will help us find that angel. Parents and teachers can emulate this work of Michangelo by discovering the individuality of each child, intertwined within the tapestry of autism.

    • Avatar Casey says:

      I encourage you to attend the 2016 Rethinking Autism Conference to hear the research that is explaining why kids with severe autism are often nonverbal and unreliable to communicate through traditional autism supports. Meet many self advocates who have overcome the struggle to communicate and gain access a true education.

  • What a brilliant story. Just because someone can’t communicate we assume they don’t understand. What we should be assuming is that the person inside is bright, clever and talented and work backwards from there; giving them every opportunity to shine the light that lives within them.

  • Avatar Liz Molloy says:

    I have some challenges with my two teenage daughters. After watching this video it has made me realise how lucky I am. Carly is amazing and she has given me hope that I can help my daughter to express herself and feel that she fits in the world too.

    Thank you and to Carly’s parents you are the best example I have seen in a long time of unconditional love.

  • Such a lovely and inspirational story. Thanks for re-sharing this one.

  • Avatar karen says:

    this is a lovely story my 8 year old son is autistic he was diagnosed before school age and drawing and technology is his thing I always wonderd why he threw tantrums the way he does and its good to hear from someone on spectrum too my son can speak now but took him till he was 4 hes doing great now im very proud of him and thankyou carly for sharing your story

  • Avatar Bilhuda Chamshama says:

    Thats very touching story. But this has open our mind since now we know not only autistic kids have severe behaviour but also they are intelligent and are gifted in different ways. If opportunity are granted to them, they can show wonderful things that might be helpful to other kids living in the same world. Carly is very intelligent.

    • Avatar Casey says:

      Behaviors often stem from kids like Carly not being understood as intelligent and competent people stuck in bodies that don’t work for them. Behavior is communication.
      A neurological approach is demonstrating much improved outcomes over the behavioral strategies of the past. Come hear more at the 2016 Rethinking Autism Conference on April 1-2!! Search Optimal Rhythms for details.

  • Avatar Marhoum says:

    Thanks for sharing your story,I am the father of a child with autism, non verbal. I hope that I can help my child that way, i thank lot Carly’s parents too.

  • Avatar Dr.Rajeshwari says:

    Very inspiring for person like me who is a mother of 14yr daughter with mild autism. Carly motivates all not to underestimate the disabled and not to give up the efforts to help them out. Love u……n wish u good luck.

  • Avatar Sundar says:

    Very inspiring to read. For us parents groping in the dark these stories give us high hopes and pulls us out of despair.. I have a son who is autistic and non verbal.He types superbly on a laptop and expresses himself very well.. So I can relate very well to carty.
    With tons of Love and Prayers to all Autistic Children.
    Sundaresan ( Sundar ) Chennai , India.

  • Avatar seema gulati says:

    Incredible work by parents and therapists!

  • Avatar G.V.Dev Anandan says:

    we love and inspired as we are the parent of a autisic son 10 yrs old he is now developing very lot in all the way with communicate and interact with others and this story is giving us a lot of pleasure to work more for our son. Tks.
    G.V.Dev Anandn. India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Surapet

  • Avatar Dr Andy Gudgeon says:

    Random thoughts. Different parts of the brain do different jobs, and sometimes they cannot communicate with one another. Carly can think but cannot communicate it to the speech centre. Some people have a road accident and can solve 5 + 3 = ?? but not five plus three = what? Other people can do only the second. My boy has Aspergers (30% autism?) and we found 2 surprises; (1) he can only do things in the absence of strangers, so I home-school him (2) I found one utterly uneducated girl of 24 who passed my boy of 9 on a mountain top at night; both of them stopped and both knew they were soulmates; that girl is now his tutor every day, with amazing results. If Carly’s email is available, she might enjoy being an e-pal of my boy. All parents should READ and READ about their kids’ problems, to make them more able to find ways to overcome problems. Carly was also a twin … sometimes, there is not enough oxygen for both twins to develop properly, and I believe more twins have problems in life than non-twins. My email is [email protected] and I am from UK, and will live there from next year, and want to start a school for Aspergers kids, maybe in Sheffield.

  • Avatar Becky MacCallum says:

    What a beautiful story.

  • Avatar subashini says:

    Such an inspirational story thank for the information…..

  • Avatar Sherry says:

    One of my twin boys has Autism. He is a non-verbal six-year old. He is heading towards a different path from his brother. Carly’s story is extremely inspiring to us. It gives us hope. It proves that children with Autism still have their thoughts, and they want to be understood.

  • Avatar Judith Moreno says:

    This gives me hope for my daughter. Ellyssandra is four and a half years old with Down syndrome and severe Autism. Ellyssandra is non verbal and learning sign. Just got use to Holland now iam not even there.

  • Avatar Marie Clark says:

    This gives me hope for my son. He is verbal thanks to early intervention, he is learning to do his school work on an ipad at school. Joshua also has sensory/ fine motor skills set backs so he needs help with his writing and other areas.

    Carly thank you! Keep up the awesome job!

  • Avatar Christinah Peega says:

    What an inspiring video. I am actually a South Africa, Clinical Psychologist by profession and I have developed an interest in autism and would like to make a research on it, it has been seriously underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed and of late we in the institutions are getting quiet a number of kids with autism. I am actually delighted to be a member of the family and am actually learning a lot. Carly is so amazing

  • Avatar Jennifer says:

    Speechless, just tears of happiness, joy and hope. Thank you for sharing. Gives all of us hope❤

  • Avatar Julie says:

    I love this story, my son who also has severe autism but he talks but it’s hard to understand him and he stutters very badly and he gets scared of anything new and he really does not like change, but he does well in school he is in special education all day in the 3rd grade he has been in same unit since he was in kindergarten but he is succeeding in school I am a proud mom of an 8 yr old. Your daughter has succeeded in more than the professionals say our kids will succeed.

  • >