Communication is Power
By Philip Reyes
Hi, my name is Philip. I am eleven years old. I live in Buffalo, NY and attend public school. I am autistic and proud. Autism is a different way of noticing the world. I listen perfectly and my senses address my understanding of things. I am smarter than I look. One day I hope to use my intelligence to contribute to society.
Communication is vitally important to all people. Before I could communicate I was trapped in my autistic sounding board. I could not reach out with my thoughts. I only had myself to talk to. I was made to perform like a trained animal. I was treated as such. I stopped respecting myself, stopped opening up to others. I was without hope someone would know me. I retreated into my own world. To stim gave me pleasure not available to me otherwise.
When I was nine, my parents took me to see Soma. I was surprised she talked to me regularly. She challenged me to picture my life differently. She was the tower of strength I needed. I put my life on the line. I would understand the stakes of communicating so I could be known by my loving family and others. Learning to express myself was peace to my soul. I poured my energy to Soma to please her because I liked her so much for believing in me.
Today I am blogging about the power of my communication. I am no longer sad about being autistic. I am happy being able to express my opinions and views as an autistic. I am spreading hope to other autistics that they can live meaningful lives. I am always learning and improving my skills. I have hopes for becoming a writer and advocate for autistics. Now I can tell my story.
Philip is a 5th grader at Heim Middle School in Getzville, NY where he is supported by his teachers to use a letterboard and iPad to participate in regular academics. He has 3 siblings: Ana, Carlos, and Lia. Philip is non-verbal and at age 9, first learned to communicate with a letterboard stencil from Soma Mukhopadhyay at her HALO clinic in Austin, TX. He is refining his skills to include typing on an iPad and even some speech. Philip’s interests and hobbies include swimming, soccer, reading biographies, studying the neuroscience of autism, and expressing his views on his blog at www.faithhopeloveautism.blogspot.com