Sunday, April 1, 2012
Book Review: Carly's Voice
You may have already heard the remarkable story of Carly Fleischmann, who was diagnosed with severe autism and developmental delays at the age of two. As a non-verbal child, she remained largely a mystery to her family. Then one day, when she was ten years old, Carly reached over to a laptop computer and spontaneously typed, "HELP TEETH HURT."
This incredible breakthrough opened the door to Carly's inner voice. Though she remains unable to vocalize her thoughts, she is able to type and share her insight, wit, and intellect with others. Carly's writing opens a window into the world of autism, sharing with us the unique challenges she faces as well as debunking long-held stereotypes.
Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism is a beautifully crafted memoir written by Arthur Fleischmann with contributions from Carly Fleishmann. With an honesty that is both compelling and brutal, Arthur details the family's experiences during Carly's early years. He artfully describes the heartbreak of raising a child with severe autism and ultimately, getting to know his own daughter.
I have followed Carly's story with great interest during the last few years and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about how she was as a child and to see the writings of the young woman she has become. Her story is an inspiration to the entire special needs community and certainly one that should be read by anyone touched by autism.
There are many lessons to be learned from Carly's story, but one stands above all of the others. That lesson is a reminder to never assume that a child with autism cannot feel emotion or understand what is being said around them. It is impossible to assess the depth of an individual's emotional life or level of intellect if their facial expressions or communication skills are different from the norm. If you must make an assumption, assume that the individual with autism knows more than is readily obvious. In fact, don't assume anything, KNOW that they are magnificent.
Review copy and video provided by Simon & Schuster.