A Teen With Autism Speaks At Graduation: Extreme Inspiration

It’s an achievement and honor for any student to speak at their school graduation. But for Dillan Barmache, 14, it was an opportunity to let people to know he has a voice.

Dillan has autism, and is non-verbal. He used an iPad and a letter-board to address the graduating class of Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, California, rapidly choosing letters to form sentences. He got a standing ovation from classmates, parents and teachers—along with a social media one from special needs parents like me. This gives me so much hope for my son, Max, who has cerebral palsy and who uses the Proloquo2Go speech app as his main form of communication. Next year Dillan starts high school; he’ll take general education classes, and might study psychology, per KABC news.

I love not just that Dillan did this, but that the school welcomed it. My dream is for more schools, programs, workplaces and the world in general to have this open-mindedness toward people with special needs. As Dillan’s mom, Tami, said, “We all want to share who we are, we all want to share our thoughts and ideas and questions and worries, and I think every individual has that right.”

The full speech:

“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.”

From my other blog:

The kindness a neighbor did for my son that I will never forget

The Supreme Court ditches the term “mental retardation”

The best gifts to give a baby in the NICU

 

Image source: KABC video screen-grab

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  1. [...] inspiring video for any parent or caregiver with a child with autism is this one of a teen with autism giving a graduation speech (Dylan is nonverbal, so it’s pretty [...]