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.
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.
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