Sunday, May 6, 2012

AW Sunday Review: Carly's Voice

by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

ISBN: 978-1-43919414-0
Touchstone, March 2012
Hardcover 400 pages
At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking.  Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child.  Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unteachable.  Then at the age of ten, she had a breakthrough.

After years of being unable to communicate, Carly typed out the words "HELP TEETH HURT" and in that moment, her life changed forever.  And Carly's family and therapists saw her in a new light. 

In this poignant biography/autobiography Arthur Fleischmann, shares his personal journey on raising his daughter, Carly, who has severe autism, raising two other typical children and dealing with his wife's illness.  

I admire Arthur's honesty through out the book.  He doesn't try to sugar coat his situation, he doesn't claim to know all the answers and like many parents with children with special needs - Arthur often questions his own decisions. 

What I like most about Carly's Voice is that it's written from both perspectives of father and daughter.  Once Carly has her breakthrough, she is able to communicate with her family the way she never had before.  For the first time, Arthur has the opportunity to get to know his daughter.  While their instant message exchanges are simple, they are extremely moving to read.  

And Carly's writing is also brutally honest and thought provoking.  Carly writes with such self awareness and a wisdom beyond her young years.  
I am an autistic girl but autism doesn't define who I am or how I'm going to live my life.  I have encountered many hardships in my life but slowly and surely I have been overcoming a lot of obstacles in my path.  There are many days when I think it might be easier to give up than fight.  However, if I give up, if I don't try, then who am I really?

Carly's Voice isn't a "how to" book.  It goes beyond a special needs/parenting book, it's a book about perseverance. It's a book that anyone can read and truly appreciate- whether you are touched by autism or not.   It's a book that will inspire to keep fighting and to keep believing.     

Carly's Voice is one that will change the world.

For more on Carly check out her Facebook Page or follow her on Twitter.    


I was provided with a complimentary copy of Carly's Voice.  The thoughts expressed are my own.

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.