Having autism means that I'm unable to speak.  For ten long years I was like a baby who loudly cried for what
I sought, but could not say what it was that I wanted or needed.  Tears poured down my lovely face but, plop,
plop, plop, they fell only to worry my parents.  Though they tried, they could not unlock the chains which held
back words that I longed to utter.
  
I first learned a few signs; not more than one or two because my body wouldn't do what I wanted.  Lovely, so
lovely, my speech therapist was determined to give me a means to express myself.  So she taught me to use
photographs and make choices out of a selection of options.  It was, perhaps, the best she could offer because
I was so severely autistic.  Being able to communicate like that was great for a toddler, but as life went on it
became increasingly frustrating.
  
Back then, I formed friendships with little specks of dust.  Blocking out loneliness with our alliance, I became
like a Buddhist, more and more focusing and meditating on my little friends.
  
Then one day Mom and I saw something on t.v. that changed everything.  "60 Minutes II" did a piece on
Soma and Tito Mukhopadhyay that inspired my mom out of her lost hopes and into the kind of reality dreams
are made of.  The program told how soma had taught her son, Tito, how to communicate in spite of his autism
which had prevented him from learning to speak.  She taught him to see his way to communicating by teaching
him like a normal child.  She read to him and taught him the letters and numbers he would need to get by in the
world and society, teaching him to spell with the letters.  He was poetic in his manner of speaking.  He soon was
writing lovely stories and poems of his own.  I longed to be like him, and so our adventure began.
  
We started by following what we'd learned from watching Soma on that t.v. program.  Mom made her first
Letterboard that night, the first of many.  I began learning my letters so I could put them together, like the
pieces to a puzzle I had long wished to build.  Letters replaced the specks of dust as my friends.  Making words
slowly became our favorite game, and soon linking the words together looked like fun.
  
Looking at books also became a passion; looking at words dance on the pages like pretty maidens was
particularly joyous.  I learned to read like the composer reads the notes of a beloved symphony - with
long-awaited passion I read lovely words, lovely sentences, and lovely stories.
  
Now, what did I do with my newfound skills?  I learned loads of subjects.  History is a particular favorite.  Mom
began to teach me at home, pleasing me with subjects like Life Science, History, Math, Language Arts, and
Music.  For little me, life became much larger!

                                                                 
Back to:  Sydney's Writing
Getting a Voice
by
Sydney Edmond

Note: Article featured in Spring 2006 edition of
'The Autism Perspective' magazine.