Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carly's Café: Carly Fleischmann's View Of Autism

This experience is viewed through the eyes of Carly Fleischmann, a 17 year old girl living with non-verbal autism.

It's based on an excerpt from the book 'Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism', and it explores how - for someone with autism - a simple act like going for a coffee can descend into chaos.

'Carly's Café' was developed as an interactive video that allows the user to experience autism from the inside out.

Visit to enjoy the full experience.


Carly's Café has just been announced as silver medal winner at the Cannes Lion Festival with this film.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Delaying an autism diagnosis: why it serves nobody

I have become such an advocate for autism that sometimes, I need to contain myself a little when I hear that someone is avoiding getting a diagnosis for their child. It could be an anecdotal story someone has told me, it could a story I overhear. But one thing is certain: it upsets me, and delaying a diagnosis serves nobody, least of all the child.

Another thing to remember is that - in NSW, at least - particular funding for kids with autism expires on the child's seventh birthday. Yet another reason to access services as quickly as possible to have the greatest impact, and get the diagnosis the child needs.

I asked co-author of the book 'Australian Autism Handbook' Benison O'Reilly what she thought about delaying an autism diagnosis out of fear:

"I would never judge a parent for delaying diagnosis out of fear or denial. I was guilty of this myself for a time.  No-one wants to acknowledge that their beautiful child, the child they assumed was perfect at birth, has a ‘lifelong developmental disorder’. It’s almost like a death in the family; the death of the child you thought you had.

Unfortunately, pretending there isn’t a problem isn’t going to make it to go away.  In fact, the longer a parent delays diagnosis the longer their child has to retreat into autism and fall further behind his or her peers.

The year before (Benison's son) Joe’s diagnosis was definitely the worst of my life. I was heartbreaking to watch my son go backwards and feel powerless to stop it. Of course, the day of diagnosis was awful—I won’t deny that. But once we’d got Joe enrolled in a good early intervention program I felt in control again and much more hopeful. Eight years later I remain optimistic."

Have you had some doubts about an autism diagnosis? Feel free to comment below.

To read Benison's first opinion piece for 'Our Autism Adventures' click here.