Charles - A voice for the Voiceless!
The world is a small place if you are not able to talk. I have realised that I am so much more than the ‘non-speaking’ Charles. The world needs to know that I have a right to lead the life that I am capable to live.
I should not be treated with the lack of respect I have had to live with for most of my life. I have been treated as if I’m stupid. The anger I felt because of the way I was spoken to, has given me long times of sadness. I hated not being able to speak, so I’ve had to listen to ignorant people saying all sorts of things about me that were not true. Mainly they were not too bothered to get to know the real me. The people who did were those I felt I could relax with. I’ve lived with such high levels of anxiety that it took very little for me to ‘kick off’ – that’s what everyone called it. I hated that, to me I was trying to stop the feelings of total ineptitude by people who did not want to learn about the real me. That still happens now but to a much lesser degree. I had such blinding moments of anger and would be even more disliked.
I had been so desperate to speak that the time I was introduced to a lady called Alex was the most surprising in my life. She showed me a stencil with letters; she told me a totally different story to the way in which I had been taught before. She asked questions, which I could answer by pointing to the letters. I was able to really show that I was not stupid. Not only could I do that but I could give opinions on all sorts of things. I had at last been given the respect I felt I deserved.
I had not had an education, I had no friends, I had so wanted to have a normal life, the way to get this was at last being realised. I have such gratitude to Soma (Soma Mukhopadhyay) personally, she is the reason I have got the promising life now.
I am able to go to places, I have conversations.
The relationship with my sisters has been the greatest as they share so much sensible advice, which I find so helpful in coping in this world of virus and other complexities. I have still got autism; I still have the crazy body that does not listen to my head. I have tried to speak but that was such hard work that there were more important and enjoyable things I could be doing.
RPM (Rapid Prompting Method)
I have loved being an autism leader and I feel that I must speak up about the incredible RPM (Rapid Prompting Method).
Many authorities do not believe us, so people like me are treated very badly. I have discovered so much lately about my rights as a human being but I have heard stories about people who have not been as fortunate as me. I would like to see many more people trained to do RPM so that we can all have more fulfilling lives.
I would like to say that this is so important to people like me who the authorities have tried to ignore, have tried to say that we do not need an education, have tried to make out that it is our behaviours that are the problem. The fact is that I feel that they have seen my behaviours and totally ignoring the real me.
RPM is so important. More people need to get the education and get proper lives. I found the film The Reason I Jump totally interesting. I do not feel it was exactly what I experience, we are all different so it is important to make sure that we are all taken to be different but we are all to be treated the same as any other person. We are not stupid; to be treated with such terrible insults is very hurtful and I think many people are still so far from the truth of what we are really like. I feel the film showed how much of a normal life we can have if we are given the opportunity to speak in the best method to suit our needs. The most exciting thing for me in the film was all the people using a letter board. I think it is time for more people to learn RPM. So much may not have improved in my life had it not been for RPM. The film made me feel that I have so much gratitude to my mum learning RPM so that I can learn and feel part of society. I realise that I have not been easy and I have such sympathy for those parents in the film. I hope that others with autism and their parents can learn RPM so that they can have a good time with their family. I have got the life I really thought I never would have.