Just because 12-year-old Phillip can’t get the words out doesn’t mean that he has nothing to say.
The preteen keeps a blog to record his thoughts for an audience willing to listen. His corner of the internet on Blogspot is called “Faith, Hope, and Love… With Autism.” The tagline at the top reads, “This is the story of a boy who could not talk, but learned to make his thoughts known by spelling on a letterboard and typing. This is his path from silence to communication.”
In his post for World Autism Awareness Day, Philip offered a glimpse into his mind by explaining what daily life was like for him. He explained how he exhibits stimming behaviors such as arm flapping or tapping so that he can “feel his body better and peacefully work.” Though others may see these habits as pointless, Phillip says, the sights and sounds of the world around him become overbearing once he stops stimming.
He also points out how much he enjoys academics- math, science, social studies, and language arts- because he loves learning about the world. He cannot speak verbally and relies on a communication board, so at a casual glance, many people do not realize that his mind is active and full of knowledge.
Phillip explained in his essay how he once felt like a monster after constantly hearing others around him speak negatively about autism. He learned to hate himself at the time and felt like a burden on everyone around him.
Phillip is at peace with his autism now, accepting it as part of his identity. He is able to make friends and feels validated at his school. The boy also expresses gratitude toward his parents for all the encouragement they have given him over the years.
In this blog, Phillip wants to emphasize the importance of teaching children with autism to communicate, however that may be. After many unsuccessful years with ABA therapy, he felt he was just meeting pointless goals like pointing to flashcards.
“If pointless goals are your passion, then I pity your kids,” writes the 12-year old. “People need to be able to set their own goals. No person should be without a voice.”
Written by Hannah Jay