I recently finished reading the book Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur and Carly Fleischmann. I was completely blown away by this book. The majority of this book is written by Arthur Fleischmann who shares his experience raising his daughter Carly who has been diagnosed with autism. She is his 3rd child and a twin. He describes the behaviours that Carly exhibited early on and throughout her young life. He also shares the specific challenges that the family faced as a unit such as financially, time wise and socially as well as the impact that the diagnosis had on Carly’s siblings- both the positive and negative. Arthurs writing is one of love and compassion but also brutal honesty in the challenges and heartbreak that he and his wife go through. Also in the lack of supports available for families and for children diagnosed with Autism particularly as they get older. It is so raw and unfiltered I was completely enthralled in this book.
Carly eventually learns how to type out words one letter at a time on electronic devices. This opens up an amazing world to those around Carly and allows her to communicate. The most fascinating part of the book though is the writings which Carlys has done. Her descriptions of what it is like to have Autism and how bright and witty she is even though her body may seem like an empty vessel at times. Carly describes 1000’s of images that she has to process through and talks about learning to filter. She shares about sensory overload from the smallest of things such as the cuff of her shirt touching her arm or the tingling of her legs that makes her run. One horrifying part of the book is when Carly goes through a period of violent self-abuse while her parents desperately try to find a way to calm her body for her.
The end of the book is written by Carly herself and more of her answers to the many questions she has been asked over the years. Reading her perspective on the events and such around her as well as her take or view on what is going on is so interesting! My background is in social work and I spent time learning about Autism and the spectrum as well as behavioural therapies etc in school. Nothing I spent those years studying though compared to what I learned in this book. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who works with children or families or who knows someone who has been diagnosed with Autism. The information contained in this book about how a person with Autism perceives themselves and the world around them, as well as the struggles and triumphs of the families involved, is absolutely invaluable.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?