I am a non-speaking man with Autism. This is how I found my voice.


-[breathing raggedly]
-Just try and calm your body. “I am in a –” space. “C. O. N. S. T.
A. N. T.”
Space. “I am in a constant”?
“I am in a constant — B. A. T.
T.” -[mumbling] -T-T. “L.
E.” You got it.
You’re gonna rock it again. -[yells]
-You’re gonna rock it again. “W.
I. T. H.
With. M.
Y.” Space. “B.
O. D. Y. I am in a constant battle
with my body.” “I am an 18-year-old young man
with nonspeaking autism. I so often wish I could go back
in time to the days where I could talk
and better handle sensory input. I love and cherish those days. If I could speak, I believe
my voice would be quite deep because my younger brother
has a deep voice.” -“If I were to sound
like a celebrity, I’d like it be like,
Errol Flynn — [heroic movie plays]
[as Errol Flynn] the old-time movie actor. He played Robin Hood
and Don Juan, and he had a very
smooth voice I admire. When I was a toddler,
I could speak.” -Cow. -“I could have
real conversations about all kinds of topics
with all kinds of people. My mom said I had advanced
language use for my age. I don’t remember particular
words I said, as [chuckles] there were really so many. And then there weren’t —
at all. When I turned 3, my life
started to change drastically. I began to have limited speech
out loud. Because I couldn’t speak, I was
suddenly seen as ‘non-thinking. ‘ No longer did people regard me
worthy of a true education. Made me feel like
I’d been mislabeled and discarded by society. During this time, I continued to
teach myself all kinds of things by observing the environment
around me intensely. No one knew I was learning
this information. It was all stuck inside of me. This went on for about 10 years. One day, my mom was
reading me a book. ‘Point to the octopus,’
she said, and I did, but it wasn’t the octopus
she expected. After that, she took me to
someone that could teach me how to use a letter board. It took about a year to reach
open-ended communication with my speech-language
pathologist. It took even longer for me to be able to openly
communicate with my mom. For the first time
in a very long time, I felt I was both known
and heard. I’m 18 now. [blows] And I feel
I’ll still be missing out on many of the symbolic
acts of passage for becoming an adult
in our society. I’m unable to drive a car,
go on an adventure alone. I’d like to have a personal
relationship with a nice young woman who gets
and fully appreciates my gifts and attributes. I recently attended a party
of teens gathering to promote
greater gun control, and it was so rewarding
to be a part of something bigger than myself and outside
of the world of autism. I voted for the first time
last year, and I’ll keep on voting. And even though I’d love to have
the ability to speak my thoughts, I do feel that
I’ve found a voice.”

51 thoughts on “I am a non-speaking man with Autism. This is how I found my voice.

  1. My daughter is severely autistic and is currently using an ipad with a language program…. how brilliant and so brave this community has had to be just to be acknowledged let alone accepted. Love and hugs from Ohio 🤗🤗🤗

  2. heya ben if you're reading this, thanks for sharing your moving story. thanks for voting! thanks for speaking your truth. i'm 37 years old, i have autism too. life is good. 😎

    sending 💪🏽 & ♥️

  3. Some of the most misunderstood people in this world; Luckily people are learning more about them…..

    I supposedly have high-functioning Autism, my heart goes out to those who “have it worse” than I; But I’m sure there’s benefits, even if only a small amount… (Such as intelligence/unique abilities/just being good-natured in general/etc………)

  4. 💖💙💖💙💖❤💞❤💞❤💞😎😎😎🦄🦄🦄

  5. BEN, I think you will read this. In fact I'm 99% sure.
    Please check out telepathic communication.
    If you can learn how to speak telepathically (which I know you can) then a whole world would open up for you.
    Anna Breytenbach, Penelope Smith and the Pet Psychic are all animal communicators. They use their skill to talk to animals (from squirrels to horses). ALL animals can communicate telepathically and you can have fluent conversations with them.
    There's more. If your parents and siblings would learn telepathy too then you could talk without letterboard.
    It would be like other people talk to eachother but without sound. There are workshops to learn this. If they are too expensive then try contacting one of the above for help. They all have their own website.
    It would set you free! ♥ ♥ ♥

  6. Love this video! Much love to all those who cannot speak the way people expect. My youngest brother has downs syndrome and he uses an iPad with a language program to communicate better with us. I am astonished at how much my little brother has been saying. He's 11 now and by God is it a privilege to see him grow. Many blessings to all those who live life differently in their own unique way. Whether autistic, down's syndrome. Angelman syndrome, everyone should have the right to live, learn and pursuit of happiness. EVERYONE. 🌺

  7. Such a wonderful young man ;)! Ben, you're so strong , thanks for all the non speaking autistic people !

    Laurence , mom of Nico , a typer too

  8. This is great Ben! If everyone had to work this hard to communicate, maybe they would put more thought into what they did with their voice in this world. ❤

  9. Love love this. What an incredible video Ben and so inspiring and moving at the same time. Great job indeed.

  10. I can't love this video anymore than I already do!!! Ben is an amazing young man who has impacted the lives of both me and my son, and we have never met him! He is the reason my son voted for the first time and Ben has shown us how much is possible for all autistic people. Keep us the good work Ben and maybe some day you and my son Gregory can meet and have a conversation together with your letterboards! Thank you Washington Post for sharing this amazing story!!!

  11. What a great video. Keep on talking, Ben. Even if some of the people you are talking to don't deserve to hear you. No worries. They aren't really listening to anyone but themselves anyway.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story, very inspiring. My son is 17 and has high functioning Autism, among other things. He is verbal, rarely quiet now, though late speaking. He has trouble with things that most people take for granted, but he's very talented with computers, programming, and more. He can barely do basic math, but has an huge memory and understanding of other things. I'm so glad you found your voice and I pray you'll continue to grow and have a great life and someday, meet that special girl. ❤

  13. Thank you Ben for putting your voice I to the world. Not everyone uses a verbal speech, and the world needs to know that the capability to speak does not always equal intelligence, and the inability to speak does not always equal ignorance. You very eloquently put words to your thoughts. I hope you continue to do so, and bring light to the struggle many autistic people go through on a regular basis, and I commend you on that.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story Ben! You are so unbelievably strong and inspiring ❤ Keep sharing your story with the world and working on projects you are passionate on!! We will be cheering you on!

  15. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ben! I'm so glad you've found your voice. Thank you for helping me see that I should not underestimate those who are unable to speak.

  16. Ben, your voice is being heard and I'm better off for hearing it. I'm a teacher and I will expose my students and children to you as well. Thank you for sharing and stepping out in bravery to speak your voice.

  17. I am the mom of a 5 year old autistic boy and he's the best gift I've ever been given. You know love isn't something that needs words it just is. Autistic individuals are here and have a very real purpose and I believe it is to show the world the purity of real unfiltered and unbreakable love. You're doing great young man! Don't let the world define you. I always remind myself that those that display the most unkindness are the ones who need it the most. Can't fight ignorance with more ignorance. ❤️

  18. This is very well done and it was really enlightening to hear Bens words . It’s so important that we include the non speaking they have so much to teach us . Thank you Washington post and Ben

  19. This is an incredible example of perseverance. Congrats to Ben and his family for pushing through the challenges so that Ben could regain his voice.

  20. Almost made it to the end of the video before it became political. Using the disabled to push politics again are you? Well honestly at this point it would be more shocking if you weren't pushing politics in everything you can.

  21. Thank you friend, when I look into the eyes of another human being it is so easy to see…you have so much to say!!

  22. I'm crying my eyes out… that was inspirational… I have a 13 yr old boy who doesn't speak…he's got an ommunications iPad but he does not like using it for interaction purposes, im going to enquire with his school anout a letter board.
    I humblely feel this just gave me some insight into my own son's mind! It really hit home! Thankyou

  23. You sir are SO BRAVE. I admire your invovlement in the world OUTSIDE your front door.
    I know its difficult but its worth it.
    I am legally blind and lately its gotten darker in my good eye but i won t let that stop me! I still do my own shopping alone …my sister says i take TOO long and strangers offer more help because my family is not there for me but they weren t there for me before either so i just get on with my life.
    😅 I enjoy the SCAT van drivers…if i can think of the right thing at the right time i can make even the crustiest old ones laugh outloud. Thats a good day for me.
    I feel for them…i know how it feels to be trapped in a repetitive job i worked for more than 25 yrs. So if i can make them laugh or just listen to them i feel connected to the rest of the world. Most importantly it makes me feel needed and useful….
    You have also inspired me to🇺🇸 vote…i d. Love to see. More videos of your life.. Keep up the fight. …COMMUNICATION IS A LOST ARTFORM NOWADAYS. Everyone ignores each other and plays with their phone instead of having a short conversation.
    Ok TMI ON MY PART .SORRY. ..I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY..IT IS SO EASY TO FEEL ALONE IN THIS WORLD.

  24. Being someone with autism, when I saw this I was excited to hear what someone else with it felt and delt with it. This was a nice video and makes me feel better about dealing with autism.

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