Autistic teenager finds voice through social media

The Internet and social media have raised awareness of autism and helped build strong autism communities worldwide.

Here’s a story about an autistic Canadian teenager who is not verbal but uses social media to communicate with thousands of people. Check out Carly’s Twitter feed,  her Facebook page (which she updates frequently!), and her Carly’s Voice blog.

Carly Fleischmann — a young woman whose autism left her mute — has found her voice through the use of the Internet.

Fleischmann is able to type her thoughts into a computer, and now communicates with thousands of people through her Twitter and Facebook pages. She has found a way to use the social networking phenomenon, along with e-mail, to communicate with people all over the world — many of whom are curious about autism or have a friend or family member with the disorder. Carly says she does what she can to teach others about autism and what it is like for her — a message that she says comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

via Autistic Teenager Finds Voice Through Social Networking | The Autism News.

Agency helps autistic children speak

Two years ago, Stephen Hartman planned to shoot a video showing different stages of autism, but he got sidetracked at Syracuse University.

It was there that he learned about Kayla Takeuchi, a nonverbal autistic teenager who had learned to communicate using a keyboard in a style of “speaking” known as facilitated communication.

Hartman, who is executive director of an Annapolis-based agency that provides services to autistic children, decided to do a video about that concept instead.

The video, “Kayla’s Voice,” won a 2010 Telly Award, which honors local, regional and national cable television programs and videos. Now Hartman’s organization is helping six Maryland families bring the communication concept into their homes.

“People often tell parents of people with autism that if (your child) doesn’t speak by 7 or 8, it’s likely that they’ll never communicate, they’re never going to speak,” said Hartman, executive director of the Whole Self Center. “If you hold that kind of standard and don’t give that person a chance to learn, even the smallest potential is (gone).”

via Annapolis agency helps autistic children speak • Local (www.HometownAnnapolis.com – The Capital).