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Friday, January 9, 2015

I am Carly

For more than 20 years, I have worked with people diagnosed with autism, and many have been completely nonverbal. I have always felt that there are many ways to communicate with someone who can't verbally. I have spent hours with children, teens, and adults that have Autism teaching them how to communicate with those around them. Nowadays we have the computer to use to communicate. In this video, you will see how a person who seems to be severely autistic and that some think are retarded and unable to communicate, can.

Over the years, I have taught these individuals to use their phones, iPad, computers and whatever else to talk to others so they can communicate their wants, needs, and desires.
 According to Autism Speaks, 25% of people with autism are nonverbal. These individuals have difficulties finding ways to communicate with others and therefore will engage in behaviors that can be, well, quite intimidating to someone not used to these types of outbursts. In reality, all that person is doing and trying to tell someone that they either need or want something and can't so they get frustrated and act out to gain someone's attention.

I have always believed that it is important not to judge a book by the cover or in this sense -behavior-. Instead, my approach is to find ways to communicate with that person that is easily usable by that person. Each person is different and will use a different modality for communicating. Some use sign language, PECS, or some other form of verbal expression. Our modern times allow for use on phones, iPads, and computers allowing people like Carly to talk to other people. Take a look at this video and her behaviors that she exhibits and then the words that roll off her fingers and onto the keyboard. This video of Carly is an amazing demonstration of the majority of people similar to her and many that I have worked with over the years and how easily she communicates using the computer, amazing.

I think this gives us hope toward the future as Autism rates continue to rise and that there are more ways to communicate now than ever before for these people. 
Share your thoughts on this video and what communication devices you have found helpful in communicating with someone who is nonverbal.