Reviews for Carly's Voice : Breaking Through Autism


Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
*Starred Review* Throughout Arthur Fleischmann's exceptional memoir about his and wife Tammy's experience raising a child with severe autism, it is the plaintive "voice" of the wordless-from-birth Carly that resonates. Born the fraternal twin of a supremely nonautistic sister, Carly established her singularity early on. Most would have applauded the Fleischmanns' rapid response to their child's developmental troubles, noting that such early action often reverses or at least mitigates a child's symptoms. Although misdiagnosed at first, before long Carly did have the benefit of every medical, developmental, and educational resource the family could muster. But she seemed, time and again, incapable of reaping any rewards. Wordless but hardly silent, Carly would break into spontaneous, loud, and violent self-harming behaviors that constantly disrupted mundane events. Social visits, restaurant meals, shopping trips, even sleeping presented challenges until one day, when something that seemed like desperation drove Carly to type her first word. Slowly, by frustrating halts and starts, 10 years of the absorbed words of everyone around her began pouring forth via Carly's keyboard. Most parents of autistic children will likely recognize and sympathize with this parents' story. But it is Carly's chapter, written in her words, and her charm that set this memoir apart. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #2
The anarchy of lives dictated by autism, for both the autistic person and the immediate family, rawly detailed by one such parent. The first pages of this memoir/biography might have you convinced that Fleischmann has little more than a threnody to offer regarding life with his daughter Carly, who has severe autism and oral apraxia: "She made odd movements and sounds and covered her ears when it was noisy. She cried often. And she never, ever stopped moving. Never." Through a series of never-ending downbeats ("Always the incessant rocking. The rocking became the manifestation of everything I hated about Carly's condition"), coupled with his wife's diagnosis of lymphoma ("I was beginning to feel like Haiti. Or Sri Lanka. A place where natural disasters just start coming and don't have the good sense to stop"), readers can't help but sympathize with the author and his family. Fleischmann displays brutal, disarming honesty, though toward the beginning of the book some readers may wonder when enough is enough. But then something happens, and it becomes clear that the author has been quietly setting the stage all along: introducing Carly's teachers, explaining the applied behavioral analysis technique they use with her, touching on every step forward and all the steps back. One day Carly started to communicate through her computer--haltingly but intelligibly--and her parents learned that she was not as oblivious as they thought when they were speaking rather frankly in front of her. To read along as she expresses her feelings in conversations with her father is almost as stunning as when she writes of life inside her autistic head: "It's like being in a room with the stereo on full blast. It feels like my legs are on fire and over a million ants are climbing up my arms." Is it any wonder she still has behavioral outbursts? Both heart-wrenching and deeply inspiring. Imagine communicating with your daughter for the first time--at 10 years old: "I could be more than a caregiver: I could actually be her father." Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 March #1

Diagnosed with severe autism at age two, Carly Fleischmann was nonverbal despite hours of intensive speech and behavioral therapy. At ten, she had a breakthrough: she was able to type words to communicate with those around her. Now, at 16, Carly also communicates through social networking sites and a blog. She has become a spokesperson for herself and other nonspeaking individuals and brings a wealth of insight and perspective to what it is like to have autism. Carly's father, Arthur Fleischmann, tells the family's story with input from Carly herself. VERDICT A well-written story of one family's struggle, perseverance, and triumph in helping a child with autism find her voice. This book will benefit people with autism, their families, and all who interact with them.--Lisa M. Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

[Page 106]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #1

In this unsparing but affecting account of remarkable Toronto teenager Carly Fleischmann, it's clear that while most people take the ability to communicate for granted, for Fleischmann it defines her daily struggles and miraculous successes. Early on, Carly, a twin, is lagging behind her sister, neither talking nor crawling. She is diagnosed as pervasively developmentally delayed, a spectrum of disorders that includes autism. Her doctors believe she will always be below average intellectually and eventually need a group home. For the family, this begins a decade of chaos: endless physical and speech therapy, battles with the government over health coverage, and untenable exhaustion as they try to make sense of a condition that has no cure and keep the rest of the family from fracturing irreparably. Of this time of hopelessness her father writes, "his was not a life but a slow demise." After years of silence, a transformative moment occurs when Carly expresses herself by typing on her voice-output device for the first time. Finally they are getting to know her. "I felt like we were discovering the lost city of Angkor," her father writes. Although Carly's typing is sporadic at times and her uncontrollable impulses, OCD, and insomnia are ever present, the world has opened up for her. In this inspiring story, Carly has a bat mitzvah, starts attending mainstream gifted classes, and has become an autism spokesperson. Agent, Linda Loewenthal at David Black Literary Agency. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

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