Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism

Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism


“Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism” is a remarkable story of Carly Fleischmann, who was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition at the age two. Her oral motor condition makes her unable to talk beyond some hums and minor sounds. Her doctors told her family that she would most likely not develop abilities beyond that of a young child. With supportive family and very dedicated therapists, Carly beat the odds and flourished, even communicating by typing on a laptop.

The Struggle

The books main author is Arthur Fleischmann, Carly’s father. Like most parents of children with autism he was often frustrated, overwhelmed, and confused. Carly’s journey is not an easy one, even after she was able to communicate via computer, there are still daily struggles. He was willing to do whatever it takes to get the best resources for his daughter, even if it meant going “against the system”. Fleischmann holds nothing back when it comes to his thoughts and feelings. He shares his experiences and how having a child with autism effects the whole family.

Carly, may be a non-verbal girl with severe autism, but she never let it hold her back. She found a way to communicate and continued to grow and always set bigger goals for herself. “Carly’s Voice” tells her story through screaming newborn, to strong willed and very smart teenager. Not only did Carly achieve so much more then what was predicted she even excelled in her studies. By the end of the book Carly is in a regular high school and even taking some advanced classes. She makes it clear she still has struggles, as autism does not go away, but her spirt and drive is evident.

“From the Horses Mouth”

“From the horses mouth” is a favorite term of Carly’s. She uses it to describe how information can be misconstrued, misleading, and sometimes untrue, unless coming from the source. Since she has found a way to communicate she has become an advocate for autism. Letting people hear “her side” of what autism is, her struggles and her triumphs. Her story is so touching and her voice so strong she has been on various tv shows including a 20/20 special, and Larry King. She even got Ellen DeGeneres to read her bat mitzvah speech.

Though the book is full of quotes and conversations of Carly’s, the final two chapters are the most beneficial. The first of the two chapters is one written solely by Carly. She explains her journey from her point of view, adding humor and dry wit throughout. As her dad describes it “pure Carly”. The second chapter is composed of questions she has been asked through her website and, of course, her answers. Both chapters should be required reading. They are so informative, insightful and really tackle typical stereotypes about autism and people with autism.

“Carly’s Voice” is a great and easy read. It was eye opening to the world of autism through a child/young adult who has autism. Both Arthur and Carly are great writers who told such a beautiful and touching story. Their story.

Book Review: Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur and Carly Fleischmann

~ Shandy Marso, Contributor
Carolina Pediatric Therapy © May 2014

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