Q: kevin @CarlysVoice I have a 16 year old who has a fascination with cards, numbering as like the clock on a VCR. Do you have any thoughts why?

A: Repetition is always a good way for us to stim. Visually stims like seeing numbers & repeating it in our head/out loud are always great.

Q: SgtMgt @CarlysVoice My 6yrold son gets sad and cries often, & I can’t figure out why. Do U have any suggestions how I can figure out what is wrong? 

A: It could be many things. Is he on any medication I have had lots of extreme mood changes like crying and being angry for no reason. It was because of the medication It could be things that are happening earlier in the day or days that he is just processing through now.

Q: caringchild @CarlysVoice Whats it like being a silent observer of things going on around U? When you found your voice did it open the world to U?

A: Being able 2 hear things that people don’t know I hear or I’m in the room but don’t think I hear them is cool some times. But some time you don’t want to hear things that you do. Spelling has helped open some of the world to me.

Q: manly7678 @CarlysVoice My 5yo daughter has #Autism & is non-verbal, but she has a definite spark in her eye. Your story fills us with hope.

A: I go to school every day with kids that are Autistic and some of them are non verbal but I have no doubt in my mind that they all have inner voices and they just need to find away to get there inner voice herd. So if you have a feeling your daughter has a inner voice don’t give up till she is heard.

Q: anne @CarlysVoice yes I have a question Carly. Do you think facilitated communication can be taught to anyone?

A: I don’t use facilitated communication so I really don’t know. I spell on my own with out any holding my hand or whispering in my ear.

Q: Tammy @CarlysVoice Carly, My 14 year old is always using her hands like a puppet and talking to them. Besides humming, hand flapping, etc . . . what kind of environment or activities calm you the best? She reenacts a lot of the movies she sees with her hands speaking to them as if they were people. She holds her hands up in front of her face, almost like she were talking to someone. She does it all the time. I’m not sure what it’s about. Is this stimming? Is their a way to stop it? Should I stop it?

A: It sounds like your daughter is audio filtering. This is actually a good thing and don’t let any therapist or doctors tell you it isn’t. As she gets better at it her hands will stop moving and she will be able to understand your words and things around her better. Tell her I say keep it up girl friend.

Q: toni @CarlysVoice my little boy only eats toast. He will smell the food and not try it at all. He is nearly 4. I will try forever but why?

A: Lots of food can be over-powering. See if you can find a dip he likes. Add it to different food even if its gross to you.

Q: DailyDose @CarlysVoice What do you mean when you say “i take over a thousand pictures of a persons face when i look at them”?

A: It’s the way I describe how we see. All the images come at us at once. It is so overwhelming.

Q: Shannon @CarlysVoice How old were you when you understood love & felt how very much your parents love you. I’ve heard it can be a hard concept.

A: I don’t know how old I was but from a young age I always knew my mom and dad loved and cared for me. I wasn’t able to tell them I loved them back or sometimes even hug them back but I still loved them.

Q: I am a massage therapist, planning to work with children with autism, any ideas on how to provide a space where the child will feel comfortable?

A: I have had a massages and enjoyed them as for a space make sure the oils or cream you use is ok with the child and the smell of them isn’t over whelming.  We can still smell certain sense after you have used them on other people in the room. Make sure fans and even air-conditioners are off. Some times sounds overwhelm us when we are experiencing increase of sensory input like a massage.

Q: How do you feel about your therapists/aides? What can I as a therapy aide do to make a kid’s time with me a positive experience?

A: I like therapists in fact I am friends with a lot of mine. The best thing u can do is go with your gut not the book. If you think something will work try it. And always believe in your child. They will feed off of that.

Q: Is there a question you wish someone would ask you but never does?

A: How are you feeling. People always assume how I’m feeling.  But they never really ask me.

Q: What’s the one word you would use to describe autism?

A: That’s a hard question.  I don’t think you can just pick one.  I think I would say things don’t always look like they appear.  Just because in your eyes I might not look smart does not mean that’s the case.

Q: What do you dream about? (besides Brad Pitt)

A: I dream about a lot of things like boys and food.  I don’t always remember my dreams but I do like them.

Q: In your dreams are you autistic?

A: Yes and no.  Some of my dreams I can talk and do things that kids my age do. But some I even have a hard time doing the things I can do when I am awake.

Q: Where do you get so much information about pop culture?  Tv?  Magazines?  Siblings?  Fess up!

A: I listen to everything that’s going on around me. If a tv is on and I am in another room I still listen to it or if people are talking I like to hear what they are saying even if they are not talking to me. Like I say all the time just because it does not look like I am paying attention does not mean that’s the case.

Q: Do you ever feel sorry for yourself because of your autism?

A: I think people are going to be mad at me if I tell the truth.   One of my mom’s friends said she always wanted to be like every one else because she felt different.

I think that is kind of what I feel like.

I would like to be like a normal kid.

I do like things about being me but I still wonder what it would be like to be like my sister.

Q: When you look ahead, what does the future hold for Carly Fleischmann?

A: I was in LA and met a friend who is just like me.  He can’t talk but he can spell.  I have a new dream now and that is to help people with autism find a voice.  Just like me and my friend Dov.  I think people turn their heads to things they don’t understand. That’s why people have a hard time believing I can spell.  But i know kids who are autistic  and can talk and people don’t question that.

Q: Carly, tell me about some of your favourite things? What kinds of books do you like? What kind of music? TV shows? Why?

A: I love food.  I like eating chips because they taste so good.  It takes a lot out of me to read a book but i like when someone reads it for me.  I like listening to Septimus Heap. It’s fun because I can picture it all in my head from what Septimus looks like to the castle gates.  I love listening to music. I like songs that i can rock back and forth to.  I like Kanye West but I’m told he is not better then the Beatles.  I like TV but it’s hard for me to sit in front of it sometimes. It’s too overwhelming.  I like to sit to the side of it and just listen. I love watching the Ellen show.  She makes lots of noises and makes me forget that I’m autistic sometimes.

Q:  Carly, you are a smart girl! Your parents say that you know about things like Ground Zero, AIDS and the Statue of Liberty. Where do you learn about these things?

A: Like i said i listen to things that are going on around me.  If a radio is on in the car or my dad is watching tv or if my mom talks on the phone i listen.

It might not look like i am but i am.

Q:  If you could go on a date with anyone who would it be? Why? Where would you want to go?

A: Brad Pitt.  Why are you silly?  He is very very hot.  Even Barbara Walters agreed with me.  I’d like to go to a restaurant. It’s easier for me because  most restaurants are loud and no one would look at me funny there.

Q:  What makes you feel happy?

A:  Food. Being at home. Playing games with my sister. Reading books with my dad and listening to my family tell my mom she spends too much time on the phone and she says she doesn’t and then the phone rings.

Q:  Can you describe how you feel inside? Do you think this is different from kids who don’t have autism?

A: The problem is I don’t know what other kids without autism are feeling.  I have fights with myself every day.  Right when I wake up to when I go to sleep.  I can’t even go in the washroom without telling myself not to pick up the soap and smell it or fight with myself not to empty all the shampoo bottles.

Q:  There are some things you find challenging to do like button your buttons or cut things with a knife and fork. Can you describe how your hands feel? Why do you think you can’t do these types of things? What do you think we could do to help you?

A:  Some of them I think I can do but it takes too much concentration for me to do.  To sit and even spell it is so overwhelming for me.  I need to take breaks and tell myself to do it.  I don’t think people really get how hard it is.  It looks so easy to everyone else but it’s like speaking three languages at once. Very tricky.  I’m getting better at it and I think as time goes by I will try these things again like how I type.

Q:  Do you understand everything people say the first time? Sometimes it appears you don’t understand what you’re being asked – is there a lag?

A: I do understand everything the first time.  It’s just hard to do what people want me to do right away.  I might be standing really still or doing something and it takes time for me to get out of it without me exploding.  A lot of times I have fits and people say I can control them but what they don’t get is they started them.  It takes time for me to switch what I am doing.  Even if it does not look like I am doing anything I am.  And when you rush me I can’t help but explode.

Q. I love reading your answers to these questions for everyone, Carly. I wanted to ask once, what is it like when you dream? Did your dreams change at all from before, after you began to communicate?

A.  I have always had vivid dreams and I don’t think it has changed since I have learned to spell. I have been told I have sleep talked real words before. It weird since I try so hard to talk and cant but I think the mind is a interesting thing. Do you ever sleep talk or walk in your sleep?

Q. I have a question Carly. How do I get a teenage boy to stop stimming all class? He says the teachers are boring and its way funnier in his head! I’m sure it is but he’s missing all his instructions and the lectures! I’m constantly redirecting him but he’s missing so much! HELP

A. Ok I need to clear up a misperception about autism. If a child is stimming doesn’t mean he or she is not listening in fact we listen better when we stim. I’m at a typical high school and I still stim in class. I just make it discreet like rolling a small small corner of a piece of paper. Look you all stim too. think of the drawings you make when you are on the phone or twirling of hair or pencils it’s a stim. There is nothing wrong with it but sometimes it’s better to make them discreet. What are the stims you do every day?   Really think about it, I bet you find at least one.

Q. question for you, Carly. Did you ever scream for what seemed like no reason? Like you showed a happy face, and everything was calm and relaxed, but you just start screaming? My daughter sometimes does it and I am trying to figure out why.  Thanks!

A. I love this question. She is audio filtering and breaking down sounds noises and conversation throughout the day. Other than the screaming you might see crying or laughing fits and even anger. It’s our reaction from finally understanding things that were said and done last min; last day; last month. SHE IS FINE AND TELL HER TO KEEP IT UP.

Q. Carly, I have a question, not sure if you could help. But would you happen to know why my 4 year old (who has autism), screams in the car every time we come to a stop light or stop sign? He’s fine and happy as long as the car keeps moving, but once it stops, he flips out screaming. An uncontrollable tantrum.

A. I love long long car rides it’s a great way to stim without doing anything yourself. The car motion the visual scenery flashing by it allows you to block out all other sensory input and focus on one. My advice is to get a massage chair cover and put it on the seat so when the car stops he is still feeling motion and not just stopping abruptly. You can even put a dvd on in the car of moving scenery.

Q. Carly, can you tell me why my son spits all the time? He does all of the other behaviors too…rocking, head hitting flapping his hands but the spitting is gross and it really makes others shy away from him. Any ideas?

A. I myself never spat as a child however I did drool and felt like spitting. For me I realize today I never really knew how to swallow. I know what you are thinking what is she talking about but it’s true. I never really used my mouth to talk and in return never truly worked the muscles in my mouth.  When you have saliva stuck in your mouth there is only a few ways to get it out and you do whatever feels most comfortable to you or whatever gives you the most feedback. Try giving him a candy to suck on for two weeks. It will work his muscles and teach him to swallow.

Q. Hey Carly, I have a question for you. You mentioned in a post way back that you have OCD and Autism. Can you tell which disorder is causing particular symptoms? How do you manage your OCD? have you gotten CBT therapy to address it, or is just being managed through your docs? What do you do to help yourself relax on a “bad OCD” day?

A. You are right. I do have obsessive compulsive disorder on top of my autism. I have not tried CBT yet but have been told that’s the best way to treat it. For me I think I have a underline reason for my OCD. I am working hard with a person to figure out the cause. Its hard having autism but even harder having OCD and Autism. As for what works best for OCD I’m still trying to find out myself.