Carly's Voice: Autistic Girl Answers Questions

Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 - 3:29 pm

My name is Carly Fleischmann and as long as I can remember I’ve been diagnosed with autism.

I am not able to talk out of my mouth, however I have found another way to communicate by spelling on my computer. (and yes that is me typing on the computer by myself)

Carly answers quesions about herself and autism. - from her site:

Q: Is there a question you wish someone would ask you but never does?

A: How are you feeling. People always assume how I’m feeling.  But they never really ask me.

Q: What’s the one word you would use to describe autism?

A: That’s a hard question.  I don’t think you can just pick one.  I think I would say things don’t always look like they appear.  Just because in your eyes I might not look smart does not mean that’s the case.

Q: What do you dream about? (besides Brad Pitt)

A: I dream about a lot of things like boys and food.  I don’t always remember my dreams but I do like them.

Q: In your dreams are you autistic?

A: Yes and no.  Some of my dreams I can talk and do things that kids my age do. But some I even have a hard time doing the things I can do when I am awake.

Q: Where do you get so much information about pop culture?  Tv?  Magazines?  Siblings?  Fess up!

A: I listen to everything that’s going on around me. If a tv is on and I am in another room I still listen to it or if people are talking I like to hear what they are saying even if they are not talking to me. Like I say all the time just because it does not look like I am paying attention does not mean that’s the case.

Q: Do you ever feel sorry for yourself because of your autism?

A: I think people are going to be mad at me if I tell the truth.   One of my mom’s friends said she always wanted to be like every one else because she felt different.

I think that is kind of what I feel like.

I would like to be like a normal kid.

I do like things about being me but I still wonder what it would be like to be like my sister.

Q: When you look ahead, what does the future hold for Carly Fleischmann?

A: I was in LA and met a friend who is just like me.  He can’t talk but he can spell.  I have a new dream now and that is to help people with autism find a voice.  Just like me and my friend Dov.  I think people turn their heads to things they don’t understand. That’s why people have a hard time believing I can spell.  But i know kids who are autistic  and can talk and people don’t question that.

Q: Carly, tell me about some of your favourite things? What kinds of books do you like? What kind of music? TV shows? Why?

A: I love food.  I like eating chips because they taste so good.  It takes a lot out of me to read a book but i like when someone reads it for me.  I like listening to Septimus Heap. It’s fun because I can picture it all in my head from what Septimus looks like to the castle gates.  I love listening to music. I like songs that i can rock back and forth to.  I like Kanye West but I’m told he is not better then the Beatles.  I like TV but it’s hard for me to sit in front of it sometimes. It’s too overwhelming.  I like to sit to the side of it and just listen. I love watching the Ellen show.  She makes lots of noises and makes me forget that I’m autistic sometimes.

Q:  Carly, you are a smart girl! Your parents say that you know about things like Ground Zero, AIDS and the Statue of Liberty. Where do you learn about these things?

A: Like i said i listen to things that are going on around me.  If a radio is on in the car or my dad is watching tv or if my mom talks on the phone i listen.

It might not look like i am but i am.

Q:  If you could go on a date with anyone who would it be? Why? Where would you want to go?

A: Brad Pitt.  Why are you silly?  He is very very hot.  Even Barbara Walters agreed with me.  I’d like to go to a restaurant. It’s easier for me because  most restaurants are loud and no one would look at me funny there.

Q:  What makes you feel happy?

A:  Food. Being at home. Playing games with my sister. Reading books with my dad and listening to my family tell my mom she spends too much time on the phone and she says she doesn’t and then the phone rings.

Q:  Can you describe how you feel inside? Do you think this is different from kids who don’t have autism?

A: The problem is I don’t know what other kids without autism are feeling.  I have fights with myself every day.  Right when I wake up to when I go to sleep.  I can’t even go in the washroom without telling myself not to pick up the soap and smell it or fight with myself not to empty all the shampoo bottles.

Q:  There are some things you find challenging to do like button your buttons or cut things with a knife and fork. Can you describe how your hands feel? Why do you think you can’t do these types of things? What do you think we could do to help you?

A:  Some of them I think I can do but it takes too much concentration for me to do.  To sit and even spell it is so overwhelming for me.  I need to take breaks and tell myself to do it.  I don’t think people really get how hard it is.  It looks so easy to everyone else but it’s like speaking three languages at once. Very tricky.  I’m getting better at it and I think as time goes by I will try these things again like how I type.

Q:  Do you understand everything people say the first time? Sometimes it appears you don’t understand what you’re being asked – is there a lag?

A: I do understand everything the first time.  It’s just hard to do what people want me to do right away.  I might be standing really still or doing something and it takes time for me to get out of it without me exploding.  A lot of times I have fits and people say I can control them but what they don’t get is they started them.  It takes time for me to switch what I am doing.  Even if it does not look like I am doing anything I am.  And when you rush me I can’t help but explode.

Q. I love reading your answers to these questions for everyone, Carly. I wanted to ask once, what is it like when you dream? Did your dreams change at all from before, after you began to communicate?

A.  I have always had vivid dreams and I don’t think it has changed since I have learned to spell. I have been told I have sleep talked real words before. It weird since I try so hard to talk and cant but I think the mind is a interesting thing. Do you ever sleep talk or walk in your sleep?

Q. I have a question Carly. How do I get a teenage boy to stop stimming all class? He says the teachers are boring and its way funnier in his head! I’m sure it is but he’s missing all his instructions and the lectures! I’m constantly redirecting him but he’s missing so much! HELP

A. Ok I need to clear up a misperception about autism. If a child is stimming doesn’t mean he or she is not listening in fact we listen better when we stim. I’m at a typical high school and I still stim in class. I just make it discreet like rolling a small small corner of a piece of paper. Look you all stim too. think of the drawings you make when you are on the phone or twirling of hair or pencils it’s a stim. There is nothing wrong with it but sometimes it’s better to make them discreet. What are the stims you do every day?   Really think about it, I bet you find at least one.

Q. question for you, Carly. Did you ever scream for what seemed like no reason? Like you showed a happy face, and everything was calm and relaxed, but you just start screaming? My daughter sometimes does it and I am trying to figure out why.  Thanks!

A. I love this question. She is audio filtering and breaking down sounds noises and conversation throughout the day. Other than the screaming you might see crying or laughing fits and even anger. It’s our reaction from finally understanding things that were said and done last min; last day; last month. SHE IS FINE AND TELL HER TO KEEP IT UP.

Q. Carly, I have a question, not sure if you could help. But would you happen to know why my 4 year old (who has autism), screams in the car every time we come to a stop light or stop sign? He’s fine and happy as long as the car keeps moving, but once it stops, he flips out screaming. An uncontrollable tantrum.

A. I love long long car rides it’s a great way to stim without doing anything yourself. The car motion the visual scenery flashing by it allows you to block out all other sensory input and focus on one. My advice is to get a massage chair cover and put it on the seat so when the car stops he is still feeling motion and not just stopping abruptly. You can even put a dvd on in the car of moving scenery.

Q. Carly, can you tell me why my son spits all the time? He does all of the other behaviors too…rocking, head hitting flapping his hands but the spitting is gross and it really makes others shy away from him. Any ideas?

A. I myself never spat as a child however I did drool and felt like spitting. For me I realize today I never really knew how to swallow. I know what you are thinking what is she talking about but it’s true. I never really used my mouth to talk and in return never truly worked the muscles in my mouth.  When you have saliva stuck in your mouth there is only a few ways to get it out and you do whatever feels most comfortable to you or whatever gives you the most feedback. Try giving him a candy to suck on for two weeks. It will work his muscles and teach him to swallow.

Q. Hey Carly, I have a question for you. You mentioned in a post way back that you have OCD and Autism. Can you tell which disorder is causing particular symptoms? How do you manage your OCD? have you gotten CBT therapy to address it, or is just being managed through your docs? What do you do to help yourself relax on a “bad OCD” day?

A. You are right. I do have obsessive compulsive disorder on top of my autism. I have not tried CBT yet but have been told that’s the best way to treat it. For me I think I have a underline reason for my OCD. I am working hard with a person to figure out the cause. Its hard having autism but even harder having OCD and Autism. As for what works best for OCD I’m still trying to find out myself.


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