Feb. 20, 2008 -- Carly Fleischmann, 13, is autistic, but after years of training, is able to articulate her feelings and thoughts. She provides rare insight into a world few people understand, and she answered some of our viewers' questions below.
Question: "Millions of people saw your story on ABC News. Thousands have written letters of thanks to you. You are an incredible inspiration to so many families. Everyone is very proud of you. How does this make you feel?"
Carly: "I am so happy. I got a big gift from people around the world. Among so many kids with autism they chose me to be an advocate for autism. Where should I get behind a cause like this? I am so glad that I am able to help people understand autism."
Question: "Hi Carly, after years of not being able to speak, what does it mean to you to be able to tell people what you want to say?"
Greg from Erie, Penn.
Carly: "greg it feels so awesome to ask for things. So how do you speak?"
Question: "Carly, I am so happy you found a way to communicate with those around you! My question is what was it like dealing with autism and coping with the frustrations of not being able to communicate your thoughts, feelings, desires and dislikes to your loved ones?"
Ailyn from Miami, Fl.
Carly: "Ailyn it just sucks when I am alone. I feel very sad when mel goas away. I always yell when I feel like people so don't understand why I am sad."
Question: "What can you suggest to me, as a teacher and a parent of young teens with autism to help them?"
Jerry and Marieanne Vincent
Carly: "be patient. Try getting a computer. Give them chips when they type."
Question: "What one thing do you think my autistic child would want me to know about him?"
Carly: "I think he would want you to know that he knows more than you think he does. He is lucky to have nice parents."
Question: "Do you believe the behaviour therapy helped you and do you think intensive therapy has anything to do with you not only finding a voice, but knowing what to say now that you've found the means?"
Carly: "I think behavior therapy helped me. I believe that it allows me to sort my thoughts. Unfortunately it can't make me normal."
Question from Carly's therapist, Mel: "Carly, you have come so far in the last year with all your success. Why do you think in the last year or so you've come so far and are able to communicate with more and more people?"
Carly: "because first howie (Carly's therapist) believed then dina (another therapist) did. Believing helped. Then time went by and dina left and time went by. Then a miracle happened you saw me type. Then you helped me forget that I'm autistic. You treat me like I'm normal."