Contributed by Ido Kedar, Author of In Two Worlds
A life lived without talking is nearly incomprehensible to most people. I have invited others to try, just for a few hours, to live without talking, gesturing, handwriting, or other means of expression. None have taken on the challenge. It’s too isolating, painful and frustrating. But I have lived without speaking my entire life due to a condition called motor apraxia. This means my motor system doesn’t receive the necessary instructions from my brain to move the way I want. That often gives people the impression that there is a lack of understanding, but that is not correct.
There are many thousands of people who live without being able to talk verbally. Many, like me, have a diagnosis of autism. Too often a lack of speech is confused with a lack of thought, but not talking is not the same as not thinking. Thinking is cognitive and talking is motor.
I painstakingly learned how to communicate my thoughts by pointing to letters with one finger and typing on a voice output app when I was a child. My journey is rare but not unique. Thousands of autistic people have learned to do the same, though most still remain unable to communicate beyond basic needs. My journey as a silent boy, trapped in my body, to a fully mainstreamed student and autism advocate is chronicled in my first book, Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison. My second book, In Two Worlds, is a novel that takes you beyond memoir, straight into the heart and mind of an autistic boy who initially can’t communicate but thinks deeply. It is an excursion into the autism experience that delves into autism’s sensory inner and frustrating outer worlds.
Nonspeaking autistic people, like me, have much to say and much to teach about the human experience.
“In Two Worlds”
About The Author
Ido Kedar, 23, is the author of Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison, a memoir he wrote as a young teenager. Ido in Autismland has had a huge impact on the lives of people with autism and their families. It has also successfully challenged members of the professional community to look at autism theories with fresh eyes. Ido spent the first seven years of his life locked in silence with no means to show his intelligence. Now he communicates and writes by typing on an iPad or keyboard, and by pointing to letters on a letterboard. He has advocated tirelessly to change the paradigm that governs the way nonspeaking autism is understood and treated. In Two Worlds is Ido’s first novel.