Non-Verbal Teen With Autism Finds His Voice to Deliver a Powerful Message

boy with autism communicates with device For many parents of children with autism, a condition that often impairs communication and social development, the idea of hearing their child speak or knowing his or her thoughts may seem like a goal they'll never reach. But a 16-year-old with autism is expressing himself freely and beautifully with the help of a communication technique, Rapid Prompting Method, which was developed for people who are severely impacted. 

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One of Gordy Baylinson's therapists, Meghann Parkinson, introduced the program, which involves constant, fast-paced questioning, prompting, and engaging, while using a keyboard to assist with two-way communication. Parkinson also taught him how to type. After a year, the young man's parents were stunned by all their non-verbal son had to say.

The Maryland-based teen explains his condition so eloquently in a letter he wrote to a police officer:

My brain, which is much like yours, knows what it wants and how to make that clear. My body, which is much like a drunken, almost six-foot toddler, resists.

More from The Stir: 10 Inspiring People With Autism Who've Accomplished Amazing Things

Not only does Gordy's amazing accomplishment completely challenge the notion that non-verbal people are less intelligent, but it also provides insight into the thoughts and feelings of those who are living with the condition.

Using his newfound voice for more than just communicating with his family, Gordy has reached out to police officers, as he's concerned about the treatment of others with autism. He wrote:

If one becomes aggressive, with biting or hitting for example, obviously protect yourself but there is no reason to use aggression in return. Remember, this aggression, is an uncontrollable reaction, most likely triggered by fear.

Stories of police using excessive force to subdue people with autism and other mental health issues appear in the news with alarming frequency, something that was not missed by Gordy and was causing him anxiety that his family knew nothing about -- until he could tell them.

More from The StirMy Autism Story: The Boy Who Feels No Pain

While there's no telling how many others this technique could help, for Gordy's parents, it has completely transformed their son's future.

"The sky’s the limit for him now. I believe he can do whatever he wants," his dad, Evan Baylinson, told the Washington Post.

It's true. Decades ago, sadly, Gordy would probably be thought of as a lost cause. Today, thanks to committed therapists and ever-evolving technology and treatment plans, he will no doubt change the world for others who are still struggling to have their voices heard.


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