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Josh’s Story

This speech was delivered at The City University of New York

Good evening. My name is Joshua Akullian and I'm glad to be here. I am a member of AmeriCorps and a part of the Self-Advocacy Association. I look forward to speaking wiht you tonight about a loss of voice deciding one's life. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and couldn't speak? How do you think it would change your life?

A life without words is a life going to be a considerable calamity for the person who can't speak. The ability to speak means one can converse with others. I like to converse with people too. I am caring about people wanting to converse with me. Conversing with people is like being called a person. People like to both speak and be spoken to. When they can't they both feel they look like they are a lost person and feel that they are compared to people who can talk. A person who likes to converse likes to perceive that people want to talk with him. I always like to call myself a listener and like to listen, but, I like to converse as well. I am going to listen and speak to you about my method of speaking.

I use facilitated communication to converse with people. When I began to facilitate I licked the problem of not being like other people by not being able to speak. But I lost my cosmic spell I called my life. I mostly liked being in my cosmic spell but I called myself a lost person. I liked my life becuase it was safe. I like facilitated communcation but it is not the same as being able to talk. Being able to talk enables people to compare themselves to others who can speak and lets them make conversation with others independently. Deciding to speak means I need others to help me to talk. Communication is like my only contact with people. Communicating with people feels like I am part of the human race. Communication is the only menas of getting my life to be complete and coalescing with others as a person.

I both fought to be in the world and to like communicating with people. I always like to call cmmunication my claim to speak. It was a letter day when I came to communicate and I listened to a person calling me a speaker. I like to communicate but I mostly like to consider myself a listener. Can there be listeners in the world as well as talkers? I always like to speak when I need to, but I care about listening as well. Both are important.  A person needs to care about a listener as well as liking a person who talks. When I listen I coalesce with people I call my friends. I always boast that I am a loving, caring listener. I claim I am a listener but I like to talk too.

When you free a person to talk you have to care about listening. What a person has to do by listening is to accept a person's complaints, his cares, his feelings and dreams. A person who listens is being both a caring persona and like an artist, because listening is an art. Can you hear falling hopes? Can you hear life's dreams? Some people like to call themselves a listener but they really only consider a person's speech important. I like people to look at what a person is feeling too. That looks to me to be most important. When you lack caring about a person's feeling you listen only to his words.

Delivering my presentation, I consider it a presentation of my listening to others' cosmic worlds. We like to communicate with speech but there are other ways to communicate as well. A communicator needs to hear both ways of communicating. Forming communication always comes last. A person is acalled a communicator when he can care about others. Can you listen to a non-verbal autistic person silently communicating? Really communicating is like being in the cosmic spell with them without calling them names or judging their loss of language. Thank you.