Skip to main content

Carly's Voice; Breaking Through Autism Arthur Fleischmann, and Carly Fleischmann

I would like to kick of my parenting series on this book I hope you like it!



          Carly’s Voice: Breaking through Autism



The American Psychiatric association defines Autism as the following:


“Autism Spectrum Disorders* are a range of
complex developmental disorders that can cause
problems with thinking, feeling, language, and the
ability to relate to others. They are neurological
disorders, which means they affect the functioning
of the brain. How autism disorders affect a person
and the severity of symptoms are different in each

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that 1 in 166 children have autism.


There has to be an impairment in the following categories in order for a child to be diagnosed with Autism:

·         Communication

·         Socialization

·         Repititive/Stereotypic behaviors


The early years :Early Childhood and Elementary Years

Our story begins with a vignette. A day in the life of Carly.  We see immediately the heartache and pain of having to raise a special needs child without all the tools and support at first

She has escaped the nanny’s care while she was upstairs getting her bath ready. After a panic stricken search .We find Carly , naked in the park swinging.  Fortunately a kind stranger stood nearby but was relieved when her Father came to get her .  I can relate to the weight of terror that settles on your heart  when you are searching for an autistic child that wondered off.  We had just moved into our new apartment in July 2013 .   While I was fixing lunch, Zaria my daughter with autism wondered off quietly.  When I realized she wasn’t in the closet. I had to look on property.  There are two swimming pools what if she has fallen in?  What if she is in the car of a stranger?  These thoughts plagued my mind for what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of my life.  Besides being autistic my child has an IQ scare of 70.  I was gripped by fear as I searched the grounds she wasn’t by the pool behind our unit, neither was she near the next building over.  Zaria was in the third section in the back sitting in a tree as if it was the most natural place to be.  Like mommy where else would I be? Her face seemed to say.  I was surprised, mixed with relief and frustration.  I knew she didn’t understand but it didn’t make my waking nightmare any more bearable.

     I like how Mr. Fleishman used foreshadowning in the beginning.  Youa re experiencing the early years as they experienced them with dread mixed in with a lot of hope. They walked the fine line of  not being sure of what could be done but adamant of determined not to give in .  Also what was interesting was the makr contrast in development from Carly’s fraternal twin ,Taryn who is autistic.  By the time Carly was two they noticed a “dozy gaze”.  She didn’t crawl like her twin like a stuck crab on her back that couldn’t quite get away.  At 10 months a language delay was noticed and by the age of two her symptoms became more pronounced but doctors couldn’t really explain the lack of progression.  I can definitely relate to the general feeling of helplessness you feel in the early childhood stage.  Her speec h delay would be known as “apraxia” a motor  planning defiency in  which the muscles in her mouth failed to obey the directions of her brain”  In   addition to the Pervasive Developmental Delay it was a very broad term used to describe several conditions ,that  include autism.  To add to the famalies  struggles  Tammy, the mothe r was diagnosed with lymphoma ,at a time that would’ve been the death blow to a family that wasn’t as committed.  So for a time they had to focus on Tammy’s recovery.  Parents have to take care of themselves in order to be able to take care of their children.  Anyone who has ever flown on a airplane knows that they instruct to put the oxygen mask on yourself first ,then the child. Why? If something where to happen to the parent the child would not survive.    Self care is vital and necessary. Carly then began her occupational therapy, as well as , a gluetin diet.  Once they included Applied Behavorial Thearpy.  At 50,000-60,000 it seemed like it was a momumental sacrifice but a necessary one.  Canada doesn’t cover these services so after 2 years they had to reconsider public school again.  As long as there was an ABA tutor to assist in the classroom it was feasible, but when they tried to replace the tutor with an accountant to satisfy union requirements from the school district it was time to make a change once again.  The Fleishcmann’s converted the basement to one room school for Carly where her Speech Thearpist ,ABA helper and her assistant Howard. It really does take a village to raise a child.  Onde day at the age of 11 Carly typed “Help Teeth Hurts” in her communication device (Dynavox). It surpised Barbara and Howard who spent the most time with her .  According to the doctor’s prognosis there didn’t seem to be any reason to believe there would ever be a comprehensive thought let alone the ability to communicate it.

The later years: Preteen and high school

Her parents also utilized respite care at Cedarview meaning that Carly would  live there a few days of the week. Carly inspite if her great strides at communication she still couldn’t sleep through the night.  It also gave Carly a chance to form another relationship .  Something that would’ve been difficult to do on her own.  Carly’s Bat Mitzvah also provided another turning point. Through lots of sheer determination and the gradual  support of her parents She was able to convince Ellen Degeneress to read her speech(via prerecorded DVD)  Her world opened up in ways that no one could’ve have imagined.  It gave their small community a chance to experience Carly in a real concrete way. There needed to be something beyond the image of the girl  who flaps her arms and makes strange sounds.  Underneath that was a thinking, reasoning person who had emotions just like you and me. Except we all knew it .  What is truly interesting to me is that even though she went on to do an interview on local news,20/20 and Larry King .  She still had to prove she was intellectually and physically able to sit in a mainstream high school !    Carlton high school for special needs kids would become the bridge into Western  a main stream high school within there district.  By 2009-2010 would be considered an “experiment” they would try it out for three times a week (1 hour).  By the 2010-2011 She attended Western full time and two of her classes were for the gifted.  I found Mr.Fleshmaann’s writing style very eloquent, honest and insightful.  He did a great job of letting us experience his journeythe same way he did.  I was inspired as an parent of an autistic child it didn’t feel like I was alone.  Yes there are resources but they can’t capture the essence of the experience like he did. So I would highly recommend this book to parents/caregivers want some insight on what it’s like for the child and the parents









Popular posts from this blog

The Speed of Belief by Tracy K Smith (poem)

I didn't want to wait on my knees
In a room made quiet by waiting. A room where we'd listen for the rise
Of breath, the burble in his throat. I didn't want the orchids or the trays
Of food meant to fortify that silence, Or to pray for him to stay or to go then
Finally toward that ecstatic light I didn't want to believe
What we believe in those rooms: That we are blessed, letting go,
Letting someone, anyone, Drag open the drapes and heave us Bak into our blinding, bright lives When your own sweet father died You woke before first light And ate half a plate of eggs and grits, And Drank a glass of milk. After  you'd left, I sat in your place And finished  the toast bits with jam And the cold eggs, the thick bacon Flanged in fat , savoring the taste. Then I slept, too young to know how narrow And grave the road before you seemed--- All the houses zipped tight , the night's Few clouds muddy as cold coffee. You stayed gone a week, and who were we Without your clean p…

Poem: In Texas Grass by Quincy Troupe

All along the rail
                                road tracks of texas
                               old train cars lay
                               rusted &overturned
                              like new african governments
                             long forgotten by the people
                              who built & rode them
                                till they couldn't run no more,
                              they remind me of old race horses
                             who've been put out to pasture
                            amongst the weeds
                            rain sleet &snow
                            till they die,rot away
                            like photos fading
                           in grandma's picture book,
                         of old black men in mississippi/texas
                         who sit on dilapidated porches,
                        that fall away
                       like dead man'…

The Life I led by Nikki Giovanni (poem)

i know my upper arms will grow
flabby it's true
of all the women in my family
i know that the purple views
like dead fish in Seine
will dot my legs one day
and my hands will wither while
my hair turns grayish white I know that
one day my teeth will move when
my lips smile
and a flutter of hair will appear
below my nose I hope
my skin doesn't change to those blotchy

i want my menses to be undifficult
i'd  very much prefer staying firm and slim
to grow old like a vintage wine fermenting
in old wooden vats with style
i'd like to be exquisite  I think

i will look forward to grandchildren
and my flowers  all my knickknacks in their places
and that quiet of the bombs not falling on Cambodia
settling  over my sagging breasts

i hope my shoulder finds a head that needs nestling
and my feet find a footstool after a good soaking
with Epsom salts

i hope I die
by the life I tried
to live