A teen with autism who has trouble expressing himself verbally addressed his fellow middle school graduates with the help of an iPad and a speech synthesizer on Thursday.
Dillan Barmache's speech was unconventional, but undeniably successful. It resulted in a standing ovation from classmates, teachers and family.
Dillan's mother, Tami Barmache, told KABC, "Up until the age of 10, we were trying a lot of the interventions that are very common for an autistic child, but at 10 we realized that speech wasn't really coming in." That led to anxiety and frustration.
Things began to improve when Dillan's family sought the help of a communication support aide who attends classes with Dillan. According to KABC, Dillan spells out his words on a letter board. His aide runs them through the iPad, which vocalizes them into words so Dillan can be a part of the conversation and express himself.
Dillan's graduation speech touched on the challenges he has had as well as the opportunities that he and fellow classmates will face in high school.
KABC printed a transcript of his speech, which read in part:
Take a chance to experience your education in a meaningful way, and think outside the box, into yourselves. Insight always leads to truths that an individual either chooses to accept or not. Always consider looking to your own insight and seeking another viewpoint. We are the reality of our thinking life and are capable of so much if we just open our minds.
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).
- speech synthesizer