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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C

'I want to show that someone who can't speak thinks many thoughts, understands everything'

Fiacre is non-verbal. He wrote this himself by dictating it, pointing to letters on a board.

Fiacre Ryan (16) has autism and is non-verbal. Since his parents discovered an experimental method of communication called RPM in 2013, Fiacre has at last found a way to express his thoughts and feelings.

His revelations continue to astonish his family and school. Fiacre wrote this himself by dictating it, pointing to letters on a board to spell out what he wanted to say. 

I’M A 16-YEAR-OLD student with autism who uses a communication board, telling my thoughts by seeping words from my brain to others. Wanting to explain the mind of one who cannot speak, testimony to a student with understanding, showing the zenith of my intelligence.

Speech is the most wanted thing, yet no words form for me. Sounds try to escape; zealous thoughts try to break through the silent whispering of my world. Some thoughts rest there, and some thoughts escape in spellings on my letterboard.

Each time I tell a piece of my story only heard through silent talked words, written as I edit each sentence, I share understanding with others.

I am verifying people with autism when I write my thoughts

Each time the door opens on a new day I am doubted, but each day I prove my Einstein mind to everyone and yet they stop me using this intellect. Respect those who speak silent words, who have thoughts lost in their minds, and show them what each one sees as we tell our story.

When I first started spelling, I wrote to my mother: “There was once a boy who tried to speak. No words joined him, so he only stopped trying.” Now I like to think that I am verifying people with autism when I write my thoughts.

The world tells me to live the way others live but I am not in their world. I am each day existing through the world of autism, which tells me to understand totally differently to their world.

Yet, I am the student who understands the world better than all the rest.

The everyday world of my existence is a world that can be testing

Autism and  Me - Fiacre Ryan

Tasting things is necessary for me to see if they are safe, smelling things eases my anxiety. I am easily upset when there is noise and shouting.

We stop the noise by escaping into another world that is safe and calming. It may look strange to others, but it is the real world to us.

When I hear others complain of little things, I think that they do not know what it is really like to be tested. I would truly be grateful to have their place.

I am hopeful that I can do my Junior Cert exams. To show that one who cannot speak or write well thinks many thoughts, sees many things, understands everything, and needs the world to assist him to fulfil his potential.

We attempt to communicate, but we need someone to listen to our voice. Some of us are silent but each person with autism is an individual with personality and talent. At school my favourite subject is history, as I see scenes of ancient days and poems form in my head. Writing poetry is calming my thoughts, every verse a story untold.

The Hermit Saint (A skeleton discovered in ancient caves in Newport, Co Mayo)
See the skeleton, our very own story. Everyone passes through when they die, to save the story that we tell to each. Hasten not to this life where ancient stories and someone still rests within the cave, taking their thoughts with them, waiting to wake your rest. Telling the secrets of the past to the people we are today. Eyes open, eyes, thoughts, stories of a holy man.

There are special things in my life that give my senses peace. To walk on the beach, for there I see waves teeming towards distant shores, sand underfoot telling of each who has walked here before.

To cut twigs with my hands and ooze out the sap in my sticky fingers, wet and real. To ride my horse, seeing places from another view, as the horse carries me to wet lands, breathing in the air.

To listen and tell the sounds that belong in my own place. Listening to music rests my thoughts, bringing alive happy feelings.

I keep these in my life so that my spirit restores for weary testing times. Yet my life wanders on day after day, and my world is beautiful.

Fiachre Ryan features in Autism And Me, a documentary airing on RTÉ One, this Monday, March 13th at 9.35pm.

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