Finding a way

I woke up this morning
With this feeling inside me that I can’t explain
Like a weight that I’ve carried
Been carried away, away
But I know something is coming
I don’t know what it is
But I know it’s amazing
My time is coming
And I’ll find my way out of this longest drought

It feels like today
I know it feels like today I’m sure
Feels like today
~Rascal Flatts, Feels Like Today

Several months ago I watched an interview with a young man named Ido who is autistic and non-speaking. In the video, he is asked about learning to read and type: “How did you learn how to type?”

Letter by letter Ido slowly, purposefully types the words: I saw letters would liberate me from my isolation.

{To watch the video, go to http://idoinautismland.com/ . In the sidebar: “Ido Answers FAQ (1/2) and (2/2)}

I’ve thought about his statement on a daily basis.

We’ve never doubted for a moment that Rhema is a deeply thoughtful, intelligent, amazing young girl with so much to share with us. We have, however, struggled to believe that she’d ever find her voice. As she grows older I sense a restlessness in her and I feel it, too… this urgency to free the words inside. To liberate her from the isolation. She longs to be understood, to be heard.

Every day we pray that God will make a way. Recently we’ve been telling her not to give up. We promise that we will not stop working to give her a variety of tools that will help her communicate. Saying these things out loud to her has increased my own faith. When I talk to her, everything I see with my eyes tells me she’s not listening, not understanding, not even interested. By now I know there is so much more than meets the eye with my Rhema. She has taught me more than anyone the meaning of walking by faith and not by sight.

I’m thankful for people like my friend Jess who remind me to keep believing. The following is a text conversation we had a while back…

Jess: I was just talking to my friend (who is non speaking and types to communicate) about kids still searching for their method of communication. She wrote… Words don’t age before we can type them. They are always ready, for when we are.

Me: Thanks Jess. That’s comforting. I just worry/wonder what if they never find their method of communication. What happens to all those ready words?

Jess: I hear you 100%. I can only imagine the frustration. You will help her find the way. I truly have no doubt. And that doesn’t happen a lot. I have faith. She’s writing her name. That was unthinkable. So what is unthinkable now? Isn’t.

In the coming months we’ll be trying some new interventions that I trust are really going to help us.

Y’all, I can hardly wait.

Carly Fleischmann, non-verbal autistic teen and author

Carly Fleischmann, non-verbal autistic teen and author

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9 thoughts on “Finding a way

  1. I have faith that Rhema will find her voice and confidence in her parents, sister and teachers, I believe their perserverance, persistence, patience and love help to bring out the best in Rhema. She is so blessed to have you all in her lives and It will happen. I see it in her beautiful smiles that you share with us. I will continue to hold you all in my prayers and hope you see at least a glimmer of new hope in each day.

  2. So excited for Rhema. Like her name, she will share a Rhema word in due time, be it via AAC, FC, or whatever God chooses. This is a blessing! Please keep us posted.

  3. Don’t give up… what a simple, blinding brilliance. Few times those words won’t be a boost, and no shortage of chances for them to act as a lifeline, and yet, not ones we say or hear very often.

  4. From what I’ve read on your blog, and my own experience as an epileptic, I’m guessing Rhema’s seizure disorder is blocking her access to communication more than anything else. Maybe you will be able to find an AED that will finally control the seizures and bring her out of the fog (before mine were under control, I must say it was really hard to focus, and I did not have the other challenges that Rhema does). Another cause for hope – puberty does some crazy things to the body, especially for epileptics, so she could grow out of the seizure disorder on her own (to an extent)! Maybe she will find her voice in early adulthood.

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