Toronto

Autistic teen's world unveiled in new book

A new book tells the story of an autistic Toronto teenager who was born without the ability to speak out loud, who lived for years having her voice unknown to the world until she began to convey her thoughts through a computer.

'Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism' released last month

A new book tells the story of an autistic Toronto teenager who was born without the ability to speak out loud, who lived for years having her voice unknown to the world until she began to convey her thoughts through a computer.

Carly Fleischmann was just two years old when she was diagnosed with severe autism.

Doctors told her family that she would never speak or develop intellectually.

But when she was 10 years old, Carly proved them wrong.

She typed out words on a computer, telling her therapists that her teeth hurt. It was the start of a new conversation between Carly and the world around her.

At 17, Carly Fleischmann has a blog and a Twitter account with thousands of followers. She is now a published author as well.

In the years that followed, Carly kept on writing. She now has a blog, as well as thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Her father, Arthur Fleischmann, said that every time he reads some of Carly’s writing, he learns something.

"I find that when she writes it's like a little bit of a gift because each time I see something that she writes, I learn a little bit more, I get a little bit more insight into my daughter," he said in a recent interview with CBC News.

At 17, Carly attends a public high school and enrolls in gifted classes.

Book 3 years in the making

She and her dad have spent many weekends over the past three years working on a book about her life, which has just been released.

The book, Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism, goes into all of the ups and downs of Carly’s life. It blends their two voices together, showing readers what is like to live with autism and live with someone with autism.

"It was hard to relive some of the stories again but it teaches people the truth about autism," Carly replied via her computer, when asked about what it was like to read her father’s words.

Her dad said the book has been well received so far, and he hopes that it can help other people have a better understanding of autism and its challenges.

"I’m hoping it will be a powerful resource for people to get a glimpse inside what it’s like to live with autism and to have a greater level of empathy for not only the individual with autism, but the family and the dynamic around them, because it's a very complicated, challenging world and it's very easy to dismiss as an outsider," her father said.

With files from the CBC’s Kimberly Gale