Home > Why I Walk > Ido Kedar Speech at Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Ido Kedar Speech at Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Ido Kedar is a fourteen year old 8th grader in all general education at his local middle school, which he attends with the with the support of an aide. Ido is also non-verbal and communicates via letterboard (unassisted) or dynawrite. He was not able to demonstrate that he understood language fluently until he was age seven. It took several years after that to convince the school district to remove him from his remedial autism class and since, he has taken off running.

“I am here to represent the point of view of people with autism who don’t speak. Some of you might be parents of non-verbal people like me and stopped believing it was possible that your child could ever learn communication or even to understand.

I don’t doubt that experts probably told you that it was false hope to imagine that your child could talk. Well, I don’t talk but I still go to regular middle school in regular classes and do regular schoolwork, and I get good grades. I tell you this, not to brag, but to give you hope.

I don’t need to talk with my mouth. It’s too hard. But I’m able to communicate thanks to my letter board and dynawrite. It was a long journey to get to here from where I started. I had years of silence and rotten frustration. I was totally not able to show people I understood, so I suffered inside while my specialists chose wrong for me.

It was the worst, and I know it’s equally challenging for parents too.

I want people to know that not speaking is not the same as not thinking; that poor fine motor is not the same as not thinking; that impulsive actions are different than not understanding right from wrong; that poor facial affect is not the same as not having feelings; that boring people to death is denying them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But here’s my hope. I went from so bored in school in remedial education when I couldn’t communicate to a diploma path in high school next year. How, is the story of the potential in your kids.

Teach them interesting things. Read them age appropriate books. Talk normally to them. Not, “go car,” “say hi,” “good job.” I believe many autistic people are understanding inside and can’t show it. To be talked to like a baby is so frustrating.

The letter board was my freedom. This is it.

It takes a while to learn how to use it, but it’s worth it.

Communication is the most important thing.

I used to dream of talking, of course. But I am not free because I talk. I don’t talk. I am free because I can express my ideas in pointing to letters, in typing, in my blog and in my speeches. I am not lonely now.

Autism is a deep pit. Don’t give up.”

  1. kathy
    April 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    This is very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing this info – and more power to you.

  2. Dorothy Miller
    April 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Interesting article – gives families of autistic children hope, thanks for sharing.

  3. colleenm
    April 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    that gave me chills. i will always fight for my son and you to be heard !!

  4. Dennis
    April 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Ido, this is the most powerful communication I have seen since my son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism 10 years ago. Tucker is now 12 and is a 6th grader in general ed classes. I’ve resisted assistive tech in the hope that Tuck would learn to speak. Time for a change.
    BTW – thank you for taking your message public. You and others like you are the most valuable source of information and hope available to parents.

    • Karen
      April 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      Oh, so hope how soon he gets asst tech so he can communicate! He can use it UNTIL he is able to verbalize his wants, needs, feelings. Don’t Delay!

  5. Sheila
    April 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Beautifully said!

  6. gayle white
    April 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you <3 for giving me hope today for my son. God Bless you

  7. Tera
    April 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Thank you, so much, for this.

  8. Dia
    April 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    It was wonderful to hear your story! It’s encouraging for families to hear that you can still communicate when you are non verbal.

  9. Mia
    April 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    How wonderful! My son is non verbal and uses an Ipad to communicate. I look at all the other children on the Autism Spectrum that are nonverbal in his class and I KNOW they all have something to say. Thats why I am advocating in my community for the acceptance of Ipads as a communication device and as assistive technology so that all of these children can be heard. You give us hope, thank you!

  10. Ido
    April 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for your kind words. Please check out my blog :)

  11. Noreen
    April 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    YOU my friend are Awesome! Thank you so much for helping us to understand and Never Underestimate. I am so glad you got out of that pit! WE need you! This is the paragraph I loved, and I’m quoting Y.O.U. “I want people to know that not speaking is not the same as not thinking; that poor fine motor is not the same as not thinking; that impulsive actions are different than not understanding right from wrong; that poor facial affect is not the same as not having feelings; that boring people to death is denying them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” LOVE IT!!

  12. April 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    This article gives me hope for my non-verbal 22 yo son. Thanks for sharing. I want to follow your blog and learn from you. There are many others who could benefit. We love you….keep up the good work.

  13. April 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    can’t seem to find out how to follow your blog…please inform

  14. Sandy Bailey
    April 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I have a six year old grandson and this really interests me. He is non-verbal but I can tell he has things to say by his frustration look. Hopefully soon we can get something like this for him.

  15. April 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    You are a blessing, Ido. You said in one of your speeches that “G-d is not a wish fulfiller, but a hope fulfiller.” Now that “hope” comes through you to others. What a gift you are sharing! Thank you.

  16. Tina
    April 30, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Yes everyone should know this. My youngest child still not given the proper diagnose though fitting the none verbal and developmental delayed. School with there wonderful (not) coding him similar to retardation but yet so way far from that. Because he did not speak they kept him matching he hated coloring and still does and did not teach him math from age 3 to 7. So much time was wasted. He too has been relying on drawing pictures and spelling words to express what he could not and still sometimes cannot. We found this solution at about age 6 because we had been buying him a Magnadoodle. He could not sign because he had low muscle tone thoughout his body and couldn’t really walk til he was 4 without falling.

  17. Fran Roesch
    May 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    My daughter’s three young children have autism and are non-verbal. The twins are 4 yrs old and the little brother is 3 yrs old. I will be practicing reading and writing the abcs with them all to get them ready to learn similar devices as yours.

    Thank you. I know these young children, too, have plenty to say.

  18. Bonnie Quinn
    May 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    My son has been diagnosed with severe autism and is now 7 years old, he is also non-verbal. Sometimes I feel so lost in my quest to help him. Your story has given me hope and filled my determination tank back up! Thank you! I would love to know exactly how your parents started the journey that led you to regular education and effective communication!

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