Is she typing on that thing?
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
I want to continue to discuss the ongoing pursuit of freedom for people with extreme autism. I have been alone in my strangeness for my whole life except for family. No one wanted to really communicate with me. They still don’t really know how to do that, but if they were to try, it would go miles toward freeing up a person trapped in a speechless void.
Of course, we communicate in a number of ways, but most people won’t converse. The ones who watch me type with my mom or dad are baffled. One friend of the family has been watching it for years and just said the other day, “Is she typing on that thing?” We were astounded she had never understood.
My brother talks with his voice, but people don’t listen to him sometimes either because he talks so quietly. I also wish that when I type, people would stop talking to hear what I say. It’s a conversation. The silent ones often have more to say if the NTs would just have patience for those of us who type or who talk quietly. They need to be heard more than those who are always talking. Think about it. They need more respect. They want more respect. It can’t just be up to our parents to achieve this.
I think that as autistic people we are going to have to demand this respect ourselves. I’m not sure how, but I think if one uses a device or letter board then it helps to pick it up and bring it to people if you can. Since I’ve been doing this, it has validated my communication a great deal. It shows intent, and reminds others that you want to participate.
Others often don’t believe the typing, so it’s embarrassing for the typist. People think, "Hey, she’s not even looking at that letter board. She can’t be really typing.” But my mom says she used to play classical piano and you lose your place if you look at your hands. She also said she used to type 100 words a minute without looking at her fingers. So why can’t I maneuver one finger accurately toward a letter board without looking?
And as for the aspies with occasions that they aren’t heard, they are just going to have to raise their voices like all the NTs do to be heard. It’s often very competitive. Not being heard is the worst isolation of all. In my bro’s case, his piano and his art speak loudly the truth, speak loudly the beauty, speak loudly the argument for humanity. My poems do, too, and my blog helps, but what a delight if ever I could converse regularly with those I love so dearly. I fear they are afraid of me. I’m unpredictable. . . I think even scary sometimes. So, it’s understandable, but so sad.
illustration by Carolyn Reed