Carly, of course, is not the first person with autism to spell out her thoughts and ideas. Whether by pointing to letters written on cardboard (the Rapid Pointing Method), typing with support (Facilitated Communication) or simply typing as Carly does, many non-verbal people with autism have proved their intellectual capabilities to the wider world.
While the validity of "facilitated communication" (typing while one's arms are physically supported by another person) is questionable, it does seem that at least some non-verbal people with autism are ready, willing and able to communicate -- and do so the moment they have the means. This is, of course, very exciting to a lot of families who hope that underneath the confusing behaviors and lack of affect there really is a thinking, loving human being!
Oddly, to me, those people with autism who have made their "voices" heard have used the most basic tools to do so: a piece of cardboard, a simple keyboard, a typewriter. Yet so far, while expensive assistive technology devices are available to some people, and picture communication is used to connect with young children, it is NOT standard procedure to teach non-verbal children with autism to type!
I don't mean to sound simplistic, but wouldn't it make sense -- instead of, or in addition to intensive therapies -- to teach non-verbal people with autism to use a keyboard? What in the world is standing in the way of that simple, low-cost approach to communication?
What's your thought on this issue? Are there thousands of people just waiting to connect with the world -- but unable to do so because they simply can't type yet? Why do you think this very simple, low-cost approach is so underutilized?