Please listen to the children who are typing their dreams.
It is with great excitement that I write to my fans today. My life is more joyous than ever. My family is now helping me with communication support. My Mom is on track with helping me be independent.
My teacher of patience is helping me be at peace on a daily basis. Jeanette is the real person you would have to help you be the person you achieve to be. I mean by that this: she does not inflict her opinions upon me. Instead, she points me in the direction of rightness of thinking things through. She gives me thinking space in the way she does not need to fill my mind with babbling things just to fill the silence. To be comfortable with my silence is the best gift I can think of. In the time I take to type it is very important to open one’s mind and not think about anything but helping my words get to the page. My mind is fully capable of processing the innuendos and idiosyncratic doings of others without the breaking down opinions of others.
It is important to always presume competence. My message to the world is to understand the most important way to gain trust is to believe intelligence lies within all people. It is not the way of human kindness to push one person down to the pain of another. I believe it is important to leave the thinking to people who have the processing abilities that may be much different than you may be used to. For example, when you think I may be out on my outer wing of listening I may be tuned in like a ham radio. Other times, I might look like I am listening but I am writing the next blog. My typing is the way to know me. It is the path to understanding Larry and I.
Please listen to the children who are typing their dreams. Please find great trainers like Harvey and Pascal. It is very important to give time to communicating with others. The hardest part is getting started. Once you begin this process it gets exciting finding out the intelligent thoughts inside of us.
Jeanette, Rachel, Harvey and Susan are the dream team I hoped for. Rachel keeps my mind open to the possibilities that I will find the best home possible-one that will be positive and open to communicating in my own way. Jeanette is the peaceful quiet one open to listening without judging. Harvey is the lanky runner who points my compass toward being independent. Last but not least is Susan, “Mom”, the one who presumed competence my whole life. I hope they know my life is better now that I have more communication. To know they take little recognition for outstanding leaps of kindness is amazing to me.
It is important for the World to presume competence so all people can be free. Communication is freedom to live the way you choose. I hope this is the last time in history that people have to fight our way to the freedom of living the best life possible. Martin Luther King rang the Liberty Bell; now it is being picked up and blasted through microphones across the World. Our words ring justice and liberty for those previously thought to have no inner intelligence within their minds. Now our words are being downloaded on ipods around the World set to the lovely melodies crafted by J. Ralph. I love knowing people are singing our typing. It makes me proud to be who I am.
This film has changed the way I see myself. It is like looking in the mirror for the first time. I like myself better now. It feels better to know I might look intelligent to the World now. It puts my mind in the intelligent place in society. Perceptions have shifted to the positive place I set out to gain. My goal now is to place the bar higher; to presume competence is the next rung on the ladder of gaining this freedom for my fellow advocates across the seas of change Henna, Naoki, Chammi, Antti and those friends I have not yet met.
I will see you in NYC next.
About the Film
In Wretches & Jabberers, two men with autism embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. Determined to put a new face on autism, Tracy Thresher, 42, and Larry Bissonnette, 52, travel to Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland. At each stop, they dissect public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful challenge to reconsider competency and the future.
Growing up, Thresher and Bissonnette were presumed “retarded” and excluded from normal schooling. With limited speech, they both faced lives of social isolation in mental institutions or adult disability centers. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. Their world tour message is that the same possibility exists for others like themselves.
Between moving and transformative encounters with young men and women with autism, parents and students, Thresher and Bissonnette take time to explore local sights and culture; dipping and dodging through Sri Lankan traffic in motorized tuk-tuks, discussing the purpose of life with a Buddhist monk and finally relaxing in a traditional Finnish sauna. Along the way, they reunite with old friends, expand the isolated world of a talented young painter and make new allies in their cause.
From beginning to end, Thresher and Bissonnette inspire parents and young men and women with autism with a poignant narrative of personal struggle that always rings with intelligence, humor, hope and courage.