This video is heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.
Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with autism when she was two-years-old, along with an oral motor condition that stopped her from speaking. As she got older it became clear to her parents exactly how severe her autism was. Despite thousands of hours of one-on-one therapy, Carly was unable to speak – even a single word.
It was predicted that she would never develop intellectual capacity beyond that of a small child.
But then, when she was 11-years-old, Carly sat down in front of a computer for the first time. What happened next was a breakthrough for Carly, and allowed her to escape from her singular, silent world.
14-year-old Carly has now became something of an ambassador for children with autism all over the world. She has shared her story on television and she has written a book – Carly’s Voice – about her experience of autism, and regularly answers questions on her blog and on twitter about what it is like to live with the condition.
She helps explain why children with autism have various tics, saying of her own almost-ceaseless movement, “You don’t know what it feels like to be me, when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms.”
Carly’s frustration is often raw and, as she explains herself, “It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can’t speak.”
She has given a voice to young people with autism. And it’s a powerful one.