Carly’s Voice – Changing the Voice of Autism

What a fascinating month to share interesting stories of the heroes of autism and the daunting work that goes into helping each child transform his/her life.   Although I am not reviewing  a book in this blog, I want to share with you a remarkable story of a teenager.

According to the organization Autism Speaks, 1 in 110 children are diagnosed within the autism spectrum, making it the more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and HIV.  One in 70 children diagnosed are boys.  In the U.S. alone, there are 1.5 million people, and tens of millions worldwide.   Thus, the reason I am going to feature a remarkable teenaged girl who has autism — Carly Fleischmann.   Carly, a twin, was diagnosed with autism at age three.  She has never spoken and she spent her life feeling trapped in her body.   One day she surprised her family and typed out three simple words on the keyboard — help  hurt  tooth.   She was sick and asking for help.  Learning to type on the keyboard unlocked her world.  The rest is history.

Carly was featured on a segment about inspirational teens, on CBS The Talk, April 15, with Holly Robinson Peete.   She has been featured on 20/20, The Today Show, ABC and the Larry King Show.   I hope you enjoy this remarkable video.

She has a website, Carly’s Voice – Changing the Voice of Autism at  and a Facebook following  with over 51,000 fans.  She is also wrote a novel of her life, which I found quite compelling.   She vividly describes in great detail what it is like to live in her body, which some times burns and feels like ants crawling on her skin.   “I am autistic, but it doesn’t define me,” says Carly.  “There are times when I wanted to give up, but I can’t give up hope.”

In the next decade, 500,000 children with autism will reach adulthood and it will become even more important that they are prepared for life, and society is there to embrace their transition.   Children within the autism spectrum are very intelligent and have unique talents in the fields of art, music, science, computers, and math.

On Friday, April 22,  at 2 p.m., The Talk will air the last of its series on autism.   They will focus on the autistic children transitioning to adulthood.  Autism Speaks has a special “Transition Tool Kit” on its website.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

11 thoughts on “Carly’s Voice – Changing the Voice of Autism

  1. Amazing girl! I will take more time to look at her blog tomorrow (the video wasn’t available to watch in my country, unfortunately). You’ve certainly introduced us to some inspiring people this month, Patricia! Thank you.

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    • Thank you Beth. Carly just pulled at my hearstrings. Her story is truly remarkable. I could have posted other videos on her, but decided to use the most recent one from The Talk. If you have an interest, you only need to type Carly’s name on your search engine, and many sites and videos appear. There are a number on YouTube. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, but sick you couldn’t see her.

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  2. Thankyou Patricia for an interesting post. Carly is certainly and inspiration for many young people with disabilities. I loved what I managed to read of her blog, unfortunately I could not watch her on youtube as it is not geared for our region “downunder”. I intend to keep looking and see if I can pick her up on one of the other shows, such as 20/20, and the Larry King Show, althought we don’t get them here on tv, I can pick some of them up on youtube. Thanks again.

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    • I’m so happy you enjoyed my post on Carly, but sad you couldn’t watch the video. It is very inspiring to see her type and hear her words. As Joanna remarked she found her on the web, if you have an interest. You really only need to type in her full name and many articles and videos pop up. And there are some on YouTube. The fact it was linked to a TV program, I wondered if those out of the U.S. would be able to access it. I think it was the most powerful story I’ve encountered. Am also noticing how many twins are born with one autisic.

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  3. Diane, I had the same problem but then I watched a similar video on Carly’s website and it brought me to tears. You realize that you, like all the others, on meeting Carly just a few years ago would have immediately judged her as mentally challenged – and how inaccurate is that? I am stunned by the fluency and lucidity of her communication. How can you not be moved by a plea like “I wish you could know what it is like to be in my body for just one day?” How many other alert, bright children and adults are locked into bodies desperate to find a way out to communicate with those around them?

    Pat, thank you. Your well-written posts continue to be educational and inspirational for me. These are areas of understanding we all need, as not only are we likely to all have contact with autistic individuals, but this doesn’t just apply to autism, I am sure.

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    • It was nice to wake up to all of your comments. I’m glad you saw a similar video on Carly. Chills went through me as I watched Carly’s video, and researched her story. I know there are many alert, bright children and adults locked inside their bodies unable to communicate. I know after a brain injury, what it feels like to be trapped in a body that won’t do what you want it to do. To have doctors talk to family, because you can’t communicate, and they assume you don’t understand. All children with disabilities demand our respect as they do understand more than we realize. Many times, I said to my doctors, “I wish you could just spend a few hours in my body,” to understand what it feels like. So, her story touched me on many levels. To think that not long ago, we would not have realized the intelligence of children like Carly in the autism spectrum. Thank goodness for the dedicated developmental and behavioral therapists, and for the technologies that have unlocked their worlds so we can meet these beautiful souls.

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  4. Wow, Pat, as you share here, I can see how strongly you must be able to empathize with some of Carly’s sentiments. I know this will add depth to your own writing.

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  5. Hi Carly, my name is colleen, I am an early childhood educator in British Columbia Canada. I work with children who have autism, and disbracsia, and downs syndrom. You have let in so much light for me as an educator, I want to thank you for being such a brave and wonderful person. You have helped many see into the minds of their nonverbal children who suffer from this disorder. Your story makes me cry, not out of sadness but out of joy, for everything that you have accomplished and for everything that you have still yet to achieve. I understand there will be many trials and tribulations around your achievements but know that you are clearly able to do so.

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    • Colleen,
      Thank you for visiting my blog site, which focuses on children with specials needs. I wrote a post about Carly, because I was so taken by her courage and strength. If you would like to contact Carly Fleischman, you can find her website at http://www.carlysvoice.com. You wrote a lovely post and I’m sure she would enjoy hearing from you. She also is on Facebook. She is an incredble young lady. You can also just type her name on the internet and information appears about her.
      Best,
      Patricia

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  6. Carly’s book is so well written. I cried while reading because it gave me great insights on this disease. ( I hope this word does not offend) My 7 year old daughter is autistic and it helps me to understand a lot. She is also non-verbal. I wish it wasn’t so difficult to get one of these machines to help her talk. I am overwhelmed with paperwork. I thank Carly and her father for writing this book. My daughter does things that when I read the book it helps me to understand a lot. Thank you for letting me understand what is so difficult to understand. My daughter is quite intelligent and impatient and I wish I could unlock the mysteries that surround her.

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    • Donna,
      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed Carly’s Voice and found it helpful. I know they are giving many autistic kids iPads, which help them communicate. I don’t know about the machines. But, your comments ring true. Your daughter knows and understands and can’t find her way out. I believe you’ll find the things that help her. I think the most helpful book I’ve read for parents is “Following Ezra.” Here is my post: https://childrensbooksheal.com/2012/02/13/following-ezra-austism-spectrum/. The author will communicate with families.
      Best,
      Patricia

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