-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.
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.”