My Life with nonvocal autism
Hello, my name is Sameer.
I am a nonvocal student with autism, currently pursuing a college degree in philosophy and the cognitive sciences.
I am defying the odds. In my lifetime I have been assumed to be crazy, severe, deficient, mad, a social hermit, low functioning, non compliant, possessed, impossible, deviant, behavioral. These are nothing but labels. They did not define me or contain my potential.
In my life, justice has been slowly meted out in a step by step, organized fashion. It has taken the work of millions of dentrites in the “making note of” my intelligence. In the decision to educate me at home when I was seven, my parents went against many experts’ advice. Since my diagnosis at age 2, the main focus of the mainstream education establishment was to train me to be neurotypical. At first, I attended behavioral self enclosed classrooms in local schools. The behavior modification programs could not address my sensory complexity or give me a distinct function in social relationships. I failed my instruction… I could not copy motor movements or verbalize. The generalization of my body management was unattainable. The lack of fluent, expansive communication made me introverted and isolated. An independence of thought and action was not gained through rigid trials of motor skills. I was presumed to lack any understanding.
It was thru extensive physical and occupational therapies I learned to control my body better. It was through numerous cognitive and communication programs, like RPM and Prompt Speech therapy, that I gained insight into the world around me and I discovered communication. It was through acceptance and tolerance from friends and family that I learned to appreciate my autism. Now, the use of calming biofeedback and communication technology like the ipad allows me to pursue my dreams and be a participant in life.
Today no “timidity” or "politics" will stop me from voicing my concern or discontent. The thinking that a nonverbal individual lacks comprehension and motivation is inhumane. Most people with autism have understanding, however our sensory motor challenge makes it difficult in neurotypical communication, forging relationships, and navigation of our complex bodies in a chaotic world. The portrayal of autism is inaccurate in the media… its not a “mental behavior” or “cognitive delay” … its biomedical, its neurodiverse, its an alternative neurological state. I am testing the neurotypical envelope so to speak. Defining our intelligence must be reimagined. We are more than our self stimulations. I hope this website can shed some light on the experience of nonvocal autism with sensory motor challenges.