Carly’s Voice shares the story of Carly Fleischmann, a Toronto teen who was only two years old when she was diagnosed with a severe form of autism and her parents were told that she wouldn’t speak or develop intellectually. Carly has proven them all wrong and is showing the world just how powerful one voice can be.
Chances are you may have heard about Carly. There was a great story about her on 20/20 when she began typing at the age of eleven as a way to communicate for the first time. Her story, along with her family’s, is a great example of how adversity can strengthen a family.
After doctors told Tammy and Arthur that they wouldn’t get pregnant, Taryn and Carly arrived. Carly was perfectly healthy on paper. She was diagnosed with severe autism and oral-motor apraxia (why she was unable to speak.)
Her parents refused to be discouraged. They began the long, challenging journey to get the answers to help Carly. “Carly has always just been Carly,” says her father, and this quote rang true to me. My family entered into in the world of autism when our youngest was diagnosed at age three. As we felt, Carly’s family never dwelled on why, but now what? Every kid on the spectrum is vastly different. Looking for the magic pill is a dream. A recurring dream of Arthur’s involved a feisty Carly teasing her dad about his haircut. I too had a dream of my younger daughter telling her big sis to “shut up.”
Throughout this book there are many lessons to learn about autism. Arthur writes very truthfully about the public school system in Canada. Sharing about the heartbreak on how Carly’s siblings would be invited to parties and not Carly. This is not a book for just those with a family member on the spectrum, this is a book that should be on school and library shelves. Maybe with society learning more about autism perhaps World Autism Awareness Day can become World Autism Acceptance Every Day.
“Ignorance is caused by lack of knowledge, so let’s educate ourselves,” says Carly.
Carly has become an autism advocate. She is inspiring people everywhere, including this mom of a non-verbal daughter. There is hope in many avenues. We just need to be open and let our kids drive sometimes.
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Have you read Carly’s Voice? What do you think of Carly and her family’s story and does it inspire you or give you hope? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.