Working Together

Each time that I have to meet new people, I want to really talk to them so they do not get the wrong impression about me. What I would say is, “Can you look past the surface to see the wonderful, beautiful me underneath?”

Talking to someone new is always wonderful, but intimidating too. Some people are interested in trying to get to know the real gifts I have to share. Others find it hard to see that potential. There is hard thinking in each one of us. When we choose to open our hearts, we all benefit.

I had the opportunity to speak, together with my friend Noah, this past weekend, to a group of people that were so great. I think that strong work will very often lead to great outcomes. I want to thank everyone that attended. I think that it was the beauty of the strong, heartfelt friendships that made it extra special.

Without amazing opportunities to share ideas, we are lost in our own worlds. We each have the spirit of working together inside us. We can have a huge impact on the lives of others. However, love must always lead the way. There is love pouring out of my soul towards the people who have locked their love away. I need a lot of people to stop making the mistake of locking their love away. This will make the world a better place for all of us.

I want to talk to more people that might be doing work towards changing hearts and minds. My goal is to do more towards creating understanding between non speaking autistics and those who educate them.

Photo courtesy of Ashlee Kappel Photography

Happy New Year

Graciela and her friend, Noah, have been asked to do a practice run of their upcoming presentation at the  Innovations in Education conference for a group of people. Most of the people attending this “dry run” do not know her or her story. So, she prepared an introduction that she wanted to post here. 

Without the support of my mom I would not be standing here in front of you making this presentation. When the doctors first told my mom I was autistic it was massively hard on her. She spent many hours reading books about autism. What got her most interested in the early years was the best way I could reach my fullest potential. It was amazing love that helped her do all that she did for me. She made my life her work. I poured a lot of love into her and learned what love really is.

Problems speaking made my childhood isolated. I have many great memories of being together with friends, but it really was almost impossible to make my strong love be known to them. I wanted to make my many thoughts be loud and clear, but my words would not come out. What was hardest was having to try to make myself feel better when the other kids played together and left me out. When I was learning RPM I made myself promise that I would see my old friends and talk to them. I was able to do this. This was probably the most memorable thing they have experienced!

Problems with having my body cooperate with my brain have caused me so much pain. I want to explain my body and brain disconnect in detail for you because this is the most misunderstood part of me. Without personally experiencing this disconnect, it can be hard to understand.

I have become like the wise person that says one thing and does another but the difference is that I have no control. Would it be hard for you to have your body do its own thing all of the time? I work on controlling my body every minute of the day, but doing this just leads to more frustration because it is like trying to bring an army of misfits under control and makes me so tired. My body is a really terrible measure of my intelligence, but most people get stuck thinking that I probably dont know any better because im intellectually disabled. This is so far from the truth!

I have the most intelligent mind. I really am the most intelligent person that I know! With little access to real education I have managed to work out some difficult mathematical theories in my mind. Working on these was how I learned to handle large numbers in my mind. People look at the surface and make many wrong assumptions.

The most important thing that I would like to stress is that I want and deserve access to the same things as you. I want the education I deserve. I want to be a legitimate member of my community. I want to have great relationships. I want to be able to go places. I want to make the most of my life. I want to make a name for myself.

I try to speak (or spell) from the truths I know. What my experience is might be different from others, but I do believe that all have the desire to be understood. I hope that this helps create more understanding.

What Are The Things That Are Working For Me

I want to talk to the teachers in the world. Many activities have the potential for being amazing. I want to share my amazing experience with math circle because it was a great example of how academics can be made more successful for people like me.

Given the chance to work in a group that has many things in common was awesome. Cannot make it clear enough how awesome this was for me. Prior to this I have never felt included by my neurotypical peers. Getting this feeling of acceptance is wonderful. I want to be in groups like this all of the time. Being included and really accepted is a great feeling for anyone, but especially for me because I am constantly excluded.

 

Having the Life and Love of Non-Speaking Autistics in Your Hands

All of these days since the bad days at my old school have been challenging.

It was awesome to be in the school. However, I did not have the support I need.

Autistics are massively tuned in to many sensations and can get a lot of information from their environment and from feeling how amazing or awful the energy is in the environment.

At my old school the environment during the school days was not great for my body because it seemed tense and felt controlling.

I wanted amazing and beautiful things to happen there, but it made me sad to be in a place that did not know how to support me. It is awful to feel alone in the world, especially without being able to speak up for oneself.

I want to encourage teachers who work doing hard work day in and day out with students, to be mindful of making it challenging academically while also doing as much as possible to support their students bodies.

I want to be at a school that can get my academic needs and have more compassion for my body. I have not formulated the secret to my success in school yet, but the only amazing person who has had to make the hard decisions around my education is my mom who is always fighting to find a way for me to make a difference.

Many autistics who are non speaking do not get the education they deserve because having no tool to be able to access to demonstrate their understanding leaves them with no way to show knowledge. I was always misunderstood.

Daring to believe in your autistic and non-speaking students is hard to do, but it is absolutely necessary.

Make my day and listen to me please!

Putting your fears to the side, each day is an opportunity. Believe in what I am asking of you and it will let you feel the kindness of one another. You are the only one with the power to change your thinking and make a stand for non-speaking autistics everywhere.

Taking the World by Storm

 

Weary and exhausted by my autism each day.

Autism is not going to step in my way.

Each second the autistic mind hungers for more.

I am never going to let them close the intelligence door.

Raging and trapped like a prisoner in her cell.

Then suddenly I was able to spell.

The loneliness diminished

Faded into the abyss of troubles past.

An amazing adventure racing toward me at last.

People talk about me behind my back.

Wondering the entire time if it’s intelligence I lack.

I want to scream, “You hard nosed imbeciles.”

Then I tell myself, “Justice takes a while.”

Can I make my way with the thinking that prevails today?

This is what I want to say:

Imbeciles are like lovers in the dark,

but I will not let them steal my passion and my spark.

I am the girl who will put others to their best and show them who is the queen.

My work will have an impact like no one has ever seen.

Work and play are both so tough for me,

but I will find my way to the light in the awesome knowledge sea.

Making the Most of Every Opportunity

The great educational experiment of my life is about to begin .
This is so exciting and nerve wracking too. I want to be included.  The school gets to have my uniqueness and I get to have a chance .

Working and making really good grades is one of my goals .
My other goal is to be friends with many other students.
I know this will not be easy but I am determined .

Education in a school setting has never been great for me .
I am grateful to Northwestern . They are doing more for me than they will ever know because they see past my body.

All of my dreams are coming true .

Have A Say

After listening to the following podcast (the first story), G wanted to reflect on it and wanted her reflection posted here. 

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-moth-podcast/e/the-moth-radio-hour-live-from-dublin-43311285?refid=asi_eml&autoplay=true

Graciela’s reflection:

I want to try to be more like the woman in the story who has found a way to strongly work towards her goals in spite of her differences. Many times I say that I want to do something and want to also amaze others but then I flounder because dreams are hard to achieve. Making my dreams come true all together depends on me and my ability. my autism will not hold me down and will not be an excuse. Autism is a difference; not some absurd derangement. The autistic brain amazes me and should not be dried up with lack of use.

Careless Body and Brilliant Mind Trapped Together: A Parable

IMG_5528

(video of Graciela spelling out part of this blog…)

One day a happy and beautiful couple found out they were having a baby. Talking to the baby was part of their daily routine.

Life changed after the baby arrived. The baby life was hard on the couple. People made comments about the baby’s development and the couple grew concerned.

Wanting to make the baby as normal as possible the mom started talking to many therapists and doctors. They gave her a lot of advice for the baby.

The mom and dad made many sacrifices for the baby. They appeared to always have everything under control but at home they let the truth out. They were both afraid for the alternate path of the baby. But they kept putting one foot going forward.

Years passed and the baby became a beautiful girl. Then the couple decided to make a major life change and move to Georgia. People thought they were crazy. The girl thought so too.

From the girl’s perspective the couple had made a major mistake that would make her life even harder because she was brilliant but no one could see this because her body is so hard to control.

Then an amazing life changing event happened. The girl found a way to express herself and all of the brilliance was able to come out.

People now respect the girl for her intelligence.

Many people still need to understand that a lot of kids like the girl have so much intelligence that is trapped in an uncooperative and hard to control body. They must be given the gift of communication.