My Story, by Baxter Wilson-Rul
I am very able, honored with seeing the Golden Hat helping with telling my story.
When I was two, I resented every intervention the experts said. I couldn’t train my apparatus to say words. We worked long strenuous years. Still no words. I made remarkable progress with my words. I was seven and Soma helped me learn the letterboard. She was the only one who started to believe in me. Soma showed me respect and gave me more reason to listen to learn how I need to show my capacity.
Rise within and more yearning lights the way.
I have more to give. Wish to earn my high school diploma and go to Washington State to visit. I would like to study systems on mechanisms for elevators in college.
I want Soma to know she made my life more enriching and gave me a voice. Heaven sent an angel to me because I am able to use the letterboard with Ms. Krista at school this year. I am so happy!
Baxter is our beautiful, intelligent, 9 year old son who has Autism and is non-verbal. Baxter was taught to use the letterboard at age 6 ½ from an extraordinary teacher, Soma Mukhopadhyay, at HALO, in Austin, TX. Soma teaches non-verbal children and adults with Autism and other disabilities how to communicate and show their knowledge by using a letterboard. She transformed our lives and especially our son’s life. We are very grateful for her and cannot thank her enough for what she has done for Baxter and countless others she teaches.
Baxter just started to use the letterboard at school this year with his Aide, Ms. Krista. On the first day of school Ms. Krista asked him “Is there anything you would like to say to me?” Baxter’s response (using the letterboard), “Yes, at last we can talk.” Baxter’s life has changed at school because he is now able to use the letterboard to demonstrate his knowledge. He is very smart and is now almost fully included in General Ed! He is currently being tested in all General Ed subjects for the first time in his life!
Baxter has a special gift and an enormous heart. He has told us that he wants his friends in his SLE class to learn the letterboard because he knows they know so much more than they are able to show. The letterboard has changed his life and he wants to help change his friends lives too.
Impact Statements from Baxter this school year:
To his Aide at school on the first day of school…
“At last we can talk!”
To us (parents) the second day of school…
“My ability to have a conversation enhances every part of life and makes better living.”
To us the third day of school…I asked him why he was sad after school…
“All the discussing about how I will handle inclusion…I am ready, so let’s do it! Learning at school makes a better pleasure. Needing to establish letterboard so Ms. V will enable others to understand.”
To his Private Speech Therapist…
“Will I ever talk?”
“Is everyone able to speak?”
“Not everyone is able to speak...there is Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking…they were not able to speak but they learned to communicate in different ways. We are all different and that is a good thing. The letterboard is your voice and it is the way for you to communicate and demonstrate your knowledge. Your voice is powerful and you are being heard by everyone now! We are very proud of you and love you very much!”