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Autism and Facilitated Communication

I want to write about being autistic and doing facilitated communication. I started to write three years ago when a speech therapist called Anne Emmerson came to our flat to teach me and my mother. I was able to type out a sentence the first time she came to our flat and I was very excited to be able to communicate with my fellow human beings for the first time in my life.

I was in a great state of frustration and awful despair and always had been able to understand what people said. People often talked about me in my presence as if I was not there and I felt like a second class citizen with my disability being so severe.

I several times actually wanted to die before I was able to type but awful sadness did not deprive me of hope because I am a religious person and trust in God to fulfil my ambition to speak and be a monk in a monastery of Tolleshunt Knights.

I feel optimistic about the future and hope that one day to be able to type independently without the support of another person who holds my arm when I type. I cannot control my movements enough to be able to point where I want on a keyboard so at present I depend on a person to push my hand back and this enables me to point where I want and write what I want.

I am very upset when people do not believe in my writing and say that my hand is being pushed. I am much stronger than my facilitators and cannot be manipulated as if I were an infant. I really do type everything myself but a person has to hold my arm and push it away from the keyboard and the effort of pushing against someone enables me to write what I want.

I have two friends who are able after years of practice to do it alone and I practise every day with my assiduous mother to attain this end. Hopefully I will become independent like my friends and I will be able to take examinations.

A great deal of work has to be done when you are disabled, but God willing it will all be worth the effort and concentration.

Osian Baworowski

(This story was first published in 2000 by Parents with Attitude (Sheffield) in Telling Our Own Stories: reflections on family life in a disabling world)

Autism and Facilitated Communication © Osian Baworwoski 2000.

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