Thursday, August 11, 2016

Behind the Mic Book Review: Carly's Voice- Breaking through Autism

I got "introduced" to Carly Fleischmann when I saw a video of her interview with Channing Tatum.  An instant smile came across my face.. Star struck by Channing, you say?  Well, Carly was, so that means I can be a little star struck too, doesn't it?  (Anyway, that's a totally different blog post within itself!)  I was amazed at the poised, bright, witty girl that just grabbed your attention through the screen.  Poised and in charge of the interview, yet allowing you to see that she was totally having a ''fan girl'' moment with Channing! My only indication that she might be a person with autism was her voice output device.  One thing is for certain though, when I watched that video, the consistent thought that ran through my mind was: "Oh, she is doing fantastic!! Yay!! Good for her!"  I had to pause and ask the question,"What did it take for Carly to get where she is today?"

Enter stage left, the book, Carly's Voice Breaking through Autism. Carly's dad, Arthur, gives you insight into the uncertainties of what the diagnosis of autism would mean for their precious girl while raising ''typical'' siblings, and at the same time coping with his wife's cancer diagnosis.  Quite frankly, special needs parents are superheroes, period. That's obvious from his side of the story. The last chapter is Carly's side of the story. You're the coolest Carly!  I got drawn into Carly's chapter because of her quick wit and hilarious slant on life.  By the way, how did you know, that I chose to do a combination of options 1 and 3 to get to the most awesome chapter?  It's that photographic memory of yours, isn't it?  You really rock it, girl!  In the same breath, tears flowed when I read how she remembers the day she knew she was different, yet yearning for the connection and normalcy of being just like her siblings.  One of the things she reminds you of in this chapter is, it's not that Carly never had a voice, she just needed a way to get it out.  And get it out she does!  She and her therapists, Barb and Howie worked tirelessly to find a way to let her voice be heard...Welcome to the wonderful world of typing, which allowed Carly's family to meet her and Carly to meet herself and discover her mission to show others with autism that they have an inner voice!  Once she knew herself and realized that she had valuable and relatable things to say.....her inner voice burst out and she blossomed!  In Carly's case, a quote from Hellen Keller says it best... "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us". The Fleischmann family has certainly had their fair share of sadness, but in the end, because of sharing their story, their door of happiness opened, when they saw that, they kicked it open and used it to help others in a most eye opening, inspiring way!  Thank you all for sharing your story!

Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced, by The Arc of Indiana