Non-Verbal Autistic Teen Gives Inspiring Speech at Graduation Ceremony

autistic teen graduation speechFourteen-year-old Dillan Barmache gave an incredibly inspiring speech to his fellow classmates on graduation day at Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, California. Dillian has autism and is non-verbal, but he was able to communicate his message through his tablet computer.

Dillian's speech was met with a standing ovation from his peers, but what he had to say will inspire us all.


Hello, my name is Dillan Barmache.

When I examine each day, it's just incredible how a student, an autistic one, could ever feel a part of a class of future academics. Education is a better institution when all students have opportunity, plus a chance to take an idea and see the lessons within. With your mind, no one can place limits on where an idea can take you. Living without a voice creates almost no way to be heard, but there are people who refuse to think in a box.

Open your mind in high school. You will learn to think about different ideas, and examine new findings. Always look inside other peoples experience in order to gain another perspective outside of books. Only then are we able to start opening our eyes to the amazing things around us.

I so believe that there is so much more each one of us can do for other people, causes, and fields of study. I know too that the thought of high school is daunting, and also exciting. We will be challenged to think for ourselves as we live each day out. Part of education is showing what we have learned, so then tests measure our ability to learn, and are necessary.

However, another measure of learning often seems based on insight and guidance. Insight is a guide that separates our knowledge into what we are taught and what we are capable of doing. Take a chance to experience your education in a meaningful way, and think outside the box, into yourselves. Insight always leads to truths that an individual either chooses to accept or not. Always consider looking to your own insight and seeking another viewpoint.

We are the reality of our thinking life and are capable of so much if we just open our minds.

His words came from the tablet, and watching him stand at the podium as they were read, you just felt the emotion, knew these thoughts came from deep within this deep thinking teen. What a proud day. 

Dillian's mom Tami shared, "Up until the age of 10, we were trying a lot of the interventions that are very common for an autistic child, but at 10 we realized that speech wasn't really coming in." She said it led to increased anxiety for her son, but once he began attending Hale Charter Academy, he was able to start expressing himself more. Thank goodness we have this kind of technology to give special needs kids a voice. Dillan's message fits everyone -- not just his graduating class. As he said, "We are the reality of our thinking life and are capable of so much if we just open our minds." So true.

Dillan is heading to high school next semester and he is most interested in the ways people think. He may even study psychology someday. "Thank you for listening to me and for your patience," Dillan added after his speech. "I am able to let everyone know how I am feeling and exactly what I am thinking. It's life-changing, really." 

It really is. I wish there were tablets like this for all kids who need them.

What do you think of Dillan's speech?


Image via ABC

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