At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioural and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, she had a breakthrough. At age eleven, Carly was allowed on the computer, where she typed out:
The astonishing story has since been turned into a book by her father Arthur called Carly’s Voice, which gives the reader a first-hand opportunity to learn about autism from a girl living with it.
In February of 2014 she went to Vienna as part of a school project and then everything went quiet and nothing was heard until December 4, 2014 when a post appeared on Facebook. Carly had been given electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) after which she had a loss of language skills.
Since December, the autism community as a whole has been concerned about non-verbal autism advocate Carly Fleischmann. The twenty year old seemed to become silent, her writing and communication stopped for a while, sparking a rumour mill of concerns, and some unfounded misguided rumours in some pockets of the community. Autism Daily Newscast reported Shan Ellis decided to take a leaf out of Carly’s own book, and go “straight to the horse’s mouth“.
In an exclusive interview, we talked directly to Carly’s father, Arthur Feischmann, who in a candid interview from his office in Toronto, wanted to set the record straight and alleviate the concerns of her active followers online.
Would you tell us why you haven’t spoken publicly before now?
In general we do not comment about Carly, or her condition. She twenty years old, and has a mind of her own, capable of making decisions with guidance from us. I have tried to clear up some obvious misconceptions which were floating around on some online forums and Facebook previously as Carly absolutely hates presumptions.
People who live with her condition have very little control over their lives normally. Carly’s writing is the only thing she has any control over, and we have raised her to give her space as well as the structure that she needs to think independently.
Can you tell us what happened to Carly?
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