A famous essay of mine that’s been listed and discussed but never published. From 5-22-2011. In honor of Andrew Simmons and Peyton Sparks’s efforts to be educated in Evansville, Indiana and St. Louis, Missouri.
No Voice at CHS
I was a student at Carmel High School (CHS). I say “was” because I have to go to a new school next year because CHS wasn’t giving me a right to speak as the Constitution of the United States allows. You see I am autistic, and have found my voice through a technique called “augmentative communication” or “supported typing” as it is now called. I learned how to communicate in December of 2010. It was such an exciting time for me and my family. I call it the best Christmas gift ever.
We couldn’t wait to share the good news with the staff at CHS. At first they were excited, but nothing could have prepared me for the events that followed. They soon put excitement behind and turned to doubt and denial. I don’t know why or who was responsible for the sudden change, but it was devastating to me, my family and Ms. Poorman, my facilitator. I felt my hopes and dreams being stripped away, just as quickly as I had finally expressed them. I was being denied an education and a voice all the same day, May 17, 2011, because some “Big Wig” read old research that has since been contradicted. I truly resent the fact that they can judge me and stifle my success based on someone’s research in 1992. Where would technology and the medical field be if they only relied on research that was perfect? You see they look at both positive and negative research to make practices better. I was never given a chance to show them how smart I am because they were unwilling to open their eyes and see what was right in front of them. I refer often to “they”, and I am referring to Carmel Clay Schools Special Education Department, and CHS staff. I see them as cowards for running from their duty to teach all students.
Article 7 says that I am entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. I should not have to leave my home and move somewhere else to be given that right. I am proud to claim Brownsburg High School as my new school. Already they are excited and willing to give me an education, and want to hear my voice. Brownsburg is ready to facilitate and educate regardless of negative research because that school has done their own research, and gave it a chance. One student graduated Brownsburg, wrote a book, and graduated from college because they truly care about education. I can’t wait.
I pray that some day all people with autism will meet a Poorman and get a voice. But more, I pray those who escape the prison of autism will be heard so that others can learn at their home school. Sadly, this may not happen without augmentative communication, dooming many in Carmel to living tombs. I know, because I was there for 16 years.
copyright 2011 John Smyth