Nonverbal Autistic Teen Masters Written Communication & Advocates For ASD Education

 

 

 

 

If I told you a 16 year old wrote a book that is being assigned in university classrooms, would you believe me? Maybe. What if I told you that 16 year old is a nonverbal autistic?  Ido Kedar, a California teen with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has escaped the “solitary confinement”[i] of his body through mastering the motor skills necessary for communication tools like IPad apps. Ido is now able to express his feelings, opinions, and self-interest—insisting on inclusion in a regular education program and challenging experts’ assumptions about his condition. Ido describes the difficulty of his silent half-life saying, “It was terrible having experts talk to each other about me, and to hear them be wrong in their observations and interpretations, but to not be capable of telling them.” i

Ido advocates for integrated education through his blog and book, “Ido In Autismland,” and leads by example as an honor roll student. In his blog post Truth Over Theory, Ido describes his conversation with an open-minded professor as refreshing because, “more often, I think, people get used to their theories and stay there their whole professional careers.”[ii] Ido’s book has been assigned to college classrooms and is available on Amazon. In the personal statement of Ido’s Blog, he states his intent is to “help other autistic people find a way out of their silence too.”

Ido’s story was featured as an NBC News special, in which Ido was interviewed and able to respond via IPad, more articulately, in fact, than many people his age. The insight Ido has provided into the mind and condition of nonverbal autistics is monumental for the future of education and intervention strategies. Ido’s literary voice is unique and engaging—a true joy to read. Through his advocacy efforts and personal successes, Ido is altering the stigmas associated with autism. In an interview with NBC News Ido asserted,  “I want people to understand that not speaking is not the same thing as not thinking.”i

At Shema Kolainu, we believe all children have a voice. With understanding and support, we can hear the voices of all of our children too— whether through mediating tools like tablets, their own vocalization, or caring attention to the nuances of their behavior. Share your stories of communication barriers and successes here!



[i] Lin, Daisy, and Bruce Hansel. “Autistic Teen Uses Tech to Break Silence: “I Escaped My Prison”” NBC Southern California. N.p., 35 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 May 2013. <http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Autistic-Teen-Writes-Book-on-an-iPad–204775591.html>.

[ii] Kedar, Ido. “Truth Over Theory.” Ido In Autismland. N.p., 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 06 May 2013. <http://idoinautismland.blogspot.com/>.

 

 

Autism Goes Viral—On The Web, A Few of Our Favorite Blogs

 

 

 

 

 

The blogosphere has opened up a cyber-consciousness of daily reflections, trials, tribulations, and inspiring anecdotes. One man’s personal ramblings are another man’s insightful resource. But blogs can end up like locked diaries if lost in the internet-abyss, so we are passing on a few of our favorites to keep the dialogue going. Though blogs are relatively easy to produce through various blog-hosting sites, sharing personal stories and ideas may not be so easy. Non-bloggers can broaden the community of support by simply sharing a site name or commenting on a post. Yesterday’s flash blog event, #AutismPositivity2013, opened up the autism dialogue for non-bloggers even more, inviting anyone to share their thoughts or stories by submission and ensuring their additions would not sink into the abyss by promoting the blog site and flash blog event in advance.

A member of the #AutismPositivity2013 flash blog team happens to be one of our favorite autism bloggers: Ariane Zurcher of Emma’s Hope Book, an inspirational and informative personal saga written by the parent of an autistic. Zurcher is writing is so honest, poignant, and fluid that we would not be surprised to see these posts laced together in a book sometime down-the-road.

While moms, like Zurcher and Kristina Chew of the heartwarming—and religiously updated—We Go With Him, tend to blog more often than pops, one dad’s blog brightens our day. Austintistic is a dad’s love note to his son, Austin, who has autism and osteogenesis-imperfect, ODD, ADHD, RLS, OCD… you get the idea? Austintistic puts life into perspective with humbling humor and fatherly audoration. The blogger, Scott LeReette, has recently published a book “The Unbreakable Boy,” which you can find at austintistic.com.

With awareness growing and autism topical, doctors are diagnosing high functioning variations of autism among adults more and more. Often these diagnoses are spurred by a child’s diagnosis drawing attention to a parent’s behavior.  Writer of another favorite of ours, A Quiet Week In The House, reflects on the life of an autistic mother of an autistic child, accentuating the “ausome” characteristics of autism and providing insight from a variety of perspectives. Blogger Lori’s son was diagnosed with autism in 2009, followed a year later by her father with Asperger’s, and then, herself. Lori creatively expresses and tracks her emotional experience with beautiful scrapbook style graphs and charts.

Art expresses the autistic experience so often better than words. Autism advocate, matt, illustrates the inside scoop on what it is to be autistic in a different medium and style than Lori, with cartoons and comics on his blog Dude, I’m An Aspie. This blog is charming, honest, and just plain funny—definitely an SKHOV favorite.

Share your favorite autism blogs here!

 

ICare4Autism Adviser Advocates With “1000 Ausome Things” Flashblog Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Ariana Zurcher is hosting the Autism Positivity 2013 Flashblog event where anyone can contribute, seasoned blogger or not. This year’s theme is 1000 Ausome Things. The community-building project is a beautiful way to conclude Autism Awareness Month. Ariane Zurcher champions autism rights across the blogosphere with her personal writings, Emma’s Hope Book, and her contributions to widely circulated resources like the Huffington Post. Zurcher began her saga with autism when her daughter, Emma, was diagnosed. She works to expose the mistreatment of autistics, dissemination of misleading resources for caregivers of autistics, and the cultural assumptions of disability as unable, rather than differently able.

In her Huffington Post article, “What I Wish I’d Been Made Aware of When My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Autism” and her journalistic writings shared in Emma’s Hope Book, Zurcher accentuates the “ausome” qualities of autism. She demands that autism not be seen as a disease, but a people, like any other, with there own strengths and strangeness. She encourages skepticism of experts who claim knowledge of causes or treatment. Throughout Zurcher’s writings, she maintains a motto of confidence: confidence in your child’s competency, confidence in non-verbal communication (whether guided or intuitive), and confidence in your ability as caregiver.

The International Center for Autism Research & Education feels blessed to have Ariana Zurcher among our advisory committee, providing her scrupulously honest opinions.

To read the inspiring, reflective contributions of a community of caregivers, advocates, and autistics themselves or to share something ausome—visit Autism Positivity today.