Voices different but strongPublished 12:20am Wednesday, September 25, 2013
A while back, I learned about Carly Fleischmann in a piece on television. It was about her life as a person with autism. This bio tells a bit of her story.
“Carly was diagnosed with autism, oral-motor apraxia and cognitive delay as a child. Through years of persistent therapy and hard work, Carly learned to spell and her voice eventually found its way out. Today she types with one finger, and shares the truths and mysteries (as she calls it) of autism.
“Although she still struggles with OCD and communication challenges, Carly has proven that you can’t judge a person by appearance: her IQ has been confirmed to exceed 120 and her ‘inner voice’ is funny, insightful and passionate.”
It was her voice, the words she typed, that captured my attention this morning. Sometimes a comma might be missing, a word or phrase might seem a bit off, but the message is clear.
As I read what she posted today, I remembered hearing people say things to and about my child who has autism. And, I know even if it doesn’t look like she understands, she knows when someone is being unkind. So I’m grateful that Carly speaks for my daughter and for others who can’t speak for themselves.
National Anti Bullying Month arrives in October, so I want to share some of Carly’s words hoping they help my child and others like her find more understanding in world that is often less than kind to those who wear the label “different.”
My voice is strong
My voice is weak
My voice is loud
My voice is soft
My voice is heard
My voice is missed
However now I know I’ve got a gift. For it’s not the sound that comes out of my voice but the fact that people know I can make a choice.
Society has taught us that it’s okay to judge people from the outside and not look for the true beauty on the inside. However today I feel for the first time this might change.
For the first time anti bullying laws for people with special needs have made the senate floor. This is showing people that it’s not okay to make fun of or put down someone who is different.
Being different is okay. Being allowed to be different is amazing.
Steve Jobs was different. If people would’ve told him not to think the way he did we would never of had technology the way we do now. Albert Einstein was different. Teachers called them stupid and dumb when you like to see the look on his teacher’s face when he wrote e equals MC Square for the first time?
Although there are few studies on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, the ones that do exist found that children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than those without disabilities. Often, the bullying a child with special needs experiences is directly related to their special need or disabilities.
In fact, one study shows 60 percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of all students.
Again, Carly speaks for those who can’t always speak for themselves. I hope her message reaches a large audience.
Our voice is loud
Our voice is strong
Our voice is many
And today our voice is about to be heard
We have all been told we are different one time in our lives. Today is our time to say it’s okay that we’re different. Today we are going to pass this message on with social media to our friends and ask them to pass it onto their friends to show them that different isn’t so bad. We are all DIFFERENT.
My name is Carly Fleischmann and I can’t speak out of my mouth but I can type words that make people have emotions and I’m able to tell you that just because you have a special need doesn’t mean that you don’t bleed.”