Home Education A non-speaking glorifier with autism delivers a speech before entering college: NPR

A non-speaking glorifier with autism delivers a speech before entering college: NPR

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A non-speaking glorifier with autism delivers a speech before entering college: NPR

“God has given you a voice. Use it,” Elizabeth Bonker told her fellow graduates. “And no, the irony is that a non-speaking autistic person encourages you to use your voice, I don’t lose.”

Scott Cook / Rawlins College


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Scott Cook / Rawlins College

“God has given you a voice. Use it,” Elizabeth Bonker told her fellow graduates. “And no, the irony is that a non-speaking autistic person encourages you to use your voice, I don’t lose.”

Scott Cook / Rawlins College

She didn’t say a word – and that only made her message resonate louder. Representative Elizabeth Bonker recently delivered an inaugural speech at Rawlins College in Florida, urging her classmates to serve others and use the power of sharing.

Bonker, who suffers from non-speaking autism, has not spoken since 15 months. But thanks to a friendly attitude from peers and teachers and help from technology, she overcame many challenges and graduated from school in Orlando, which became the best in her class.

“God has given you a voice. Use it,” Bonker told her fellow graduates. “And no, the irony is that a non-speaking autistic person encourages you to use your voice, I’m not lost. Because if you can see the value in me, you can see the value in everyone you meet.”

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Bonker used text-to-speech software to deliver a speech, an honor for which she was chosen by her fellow glorifiers.

“I typed this speech with one finger, and the communication partner is holding the keyboard,” she said. “I am one of the few happy non-speaking autistic people who have been taught to type. This one critical intervention freed my mind from his quiet cage, allowing me to communicate and be educated like my hero Helen Keller ”.

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In her speech, Bonker also mentioned another character: Fred Rogers, the most famous graduate of Florida College. Last year a monument to s a man widely known as Mr. Rogers. And it has long embraced his lessons.

“When he died, a handwritten note was found in his wallet,” Bonker said. It read, “Life for Service.” “

She urged her classmates to tear a piece of paper from their program, write down those words and hide the message in a safe place.

“We are all called to serve as a daily act of humility, as a habit of the mind,” she said. “See the value in every person we serve.”

New plan: help others overcome inability to communicate

After graduating, Bonker plans to use the proceeds to help people facing situations like this.

“There are 31 million non-autistic people in the world who are locked in a quiet cell,” she said. The work of her life, she said, will help them express themselves.

Bonker recently founded a non-profit organization, Communication 4 ALLwhich aims to eliminate barriers faced by people who do not speak by providing communication resources, especially in schools.

She will also work to inform the public about the millions of people with autism. As in her emphasized in the pastthese are not cognitive or intellectual disorders.

It is estimated that 25 to 30% of children with autism spectrum disorder do not speak or speak little, according to recent research.

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