My Journey to Communication: A Call for Change in Schools for Nonspeakers

This blog post was written by my friend, Ben Crimm. We are advocates with Spellers and Allies at You can visit his blog at

A Quest for Words

I am overjoyed that I have my voice. That I can tell you what I want for breakfast. That I can share my knowledge and opinions. That I can make plans and bring fun to others. That I can tell those close to me that I love them.

I was not always this lucky.

For 25 years I could not communicate any of these things. I have never been able to speak to communicate. I tried really hard but was never successful in doing so despite many years of speech therapy. I also tried a primitive PECS system a long time ago, like when I was about 7 years old. I loved flipping the laminated cards and was able to make a few sentences 4 or 5 words long. My Dad worked with me on our first computer when I was about 8 years old. Learning to keyboard was really…

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Meet my good friend, Josh Wong.

Josh is also a nonspeaking autistic, like me. He has learned to spell to communicate by using the RPM method. He has inspired me through his attitude of being always positive. Please read his wonderful words.


Lean In – Written by Josh Wong
Autism is a hell of a thing. I should know, I have lived with it for nineteen years. It’s not easy sometimes to accept myself, let alone have others accept me. But autism is my gift, a gift that allows me to navigate the world in a unique way. People don’t have to be afraid of the unsure or unusual. Lean in to me, there is a whole world I can show you. Acceptance will guide the way.

AUTISTIC HEALTH – Written by Josh Wong
When many think of autism, they think of the brain. Often overlooked and misunderstood is the body. My brain and body don’t really connect well. I want my body to do lots of things but it rarely cooperates–that is very frustrating. It’s not just this disconnection that is misunderstood but also other health concerns. For most of my life, I haven’t been able to communicate my body’s aches, pains, or cramps. Thankfully my mom is very intuitive and managed my health well. I am one of the lucky ones. Most autistic health problems go untreated and undiagnosed. My hope is that we can make systemic changes to the health system to promote better care for people with disabilities. This must also accompany the presumption of competence and the acceptance of alternative communication. Together we can be the change.

Hear me think out loud

Waiting, amid the jealousy.
Loads of watery tears!
Wanting and yearning for normalcy.
Keeping a wound for years.
Maladaptive truancy, lapses as time goes by,
And losing patience wavers me and calms my angry sigh.
I understand sadness as it permeates my soul!
Taking away my potency and never leaving me whole.
Masking my feelings of worthlessness leaves me alone, full of regret,
Feeding my insecurities, taking time to forget.
‘Twas the ignorance of well-meaning people who started this charade!
That speaking words equals intelligence and fear led their parade.
Autistics who don’t talk have plenty of words to say.
I know as I am nonspeaking and wrote this here today.
Longing to say to hurtful looks, that I am not a freak!
Painful to many of us; forward and bleak.
Look at us, as love leaves lasting memories.
Love creates presence in awesome trajectories.
May people who don’t speak, learn to pursue answers, leaving the toll behind.
Making the leap into kindness, promoting inclusion for humankind.
That includes all of us, you and me.
Making the trip on this loving journey worry free.
The reward is already here, taking fearlessness into our hands.
Preparing for a life worth living; being proud and taking a stand!
Good times are ahead and the world is ready to see,
That nonspeaking autistics, speak their minds differently.