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← Glances of autism | Carina Morillo | TEDxRíodelaPlata

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Showing Revision 11 created 12/31/2016 by Sebastian Betti.

  1. "Look at me!"
  2. That expression turned me
    into a sight catcher.
  3. I am Ivan's mother, he is 15.
  4. Ivan has autism, he doesn't speak,
  5. and communicates through an iPad
  6. where his whole universe of words
    exists in images.
  7. He was diagnosed
    when he was two and a half --
  8. even today I remember that day painfully.
  9. My husband and I felt really lost,
  10. we didn't know where to start.
  11. There was no Internet,
  12. you couldn't google information,
  13. so those first steps
  14. were out of intuition.
  15. Ivan would not maintain eye contact,
  16. he had lost the words he said,
  17. would not respond to his name,
  18. or to anything we would ask him,
  19. as if words were noise.
  20. The only way I could know
  21. what was going on, what he felt,
  22. was looking him in the eye.
  23. But that bridge was broken.
  24. How could I teach him what life was like?
  25. When I did things he liked,
    he would look at me;
  26. and we were together.
  27. So I devoted to follow
    him in those things,
  28. in order to have more and more
    gazing moments.
  29. We would spend hours playing tag
  30. with her older sister, Alexia,
  31. and when saying: "I'll catch you!"
  32. he would look around for us,
  33. and, at that moment,
    I could feel he was alive.
  34. We also hold a record of hours
    in the pool.
  35. Ivan was always strongly
    passionate for water.
  36. I remember when he was two and a half
  37. a rainy day of winter,
  38. I was taking him to a covered pool
  39. because we went there even in rainy days.
  40. We were on the highway,
  41. and I took the wrong exit.
  42. He burst into tears,
    inconsolably, non stop,
  43. until I went back to track
  44. and only then did he calm down.
  45. How was it possible that being
    a two and a half years old
  46. and without responding to his name,
  47. yet in the midst of a storm and mist,
    where I couldn't see anything,
  48. he could be capable
    of perfectly recognizing the path?
  49. That is when I realized that Ivan
    had an exceptional visual memory
  50. and that this would be my entry door;
  51. so I started taking
    pictures of everything.
  52. And teach him what life was like,
  53. showing it picture by picture.
  54. Even now it still is
  55. the way Ivan communicates
    what he wants, what he needs,
  56. and also what he feels.
  57. But it was not the gaze of Ivan alone.
  58. There was also the gaze of everyone else.
  59. How to make people see
    not only his autism,
  60. but him,
  61. and everything he can give?
  62. With all he can do?
  63. Along with what he likes and doesn't like,
  64. like any of us?
  65. But for that I also had to give of myself.
  66. I had to dare to let him go,
  67. and I was struggling.
  68. Ivan was 11 years old,
  69. and would go to treatment
    in a neighborhood near home.
  70. One afternoon,
    while I was waiting for him,
  71. I went into a greengrocer
  72. the typical one with a bit of everything,
  73. and while doing the shopping,
  74. I started talking to Jose, the owner.
  75. I told him that Ivan had autism,
  76. and I wanted him to learn
    to go around by himself,
  77. without anyone holding his hand.
  78. So I decided to ask him
  79. if Thursdays around 2 pm,
  80. Ivan could come and help him arrange
    the water bottles of the shelves
  81. because he loved to organize
  82. and in return, he could
    buy chocolate cookies,
  83. his favorite ones.
  84. He accepted right away.
  85. So, for a year
  86. Ivan would go to Jose's greengrocer,
  87. helped him arrange
    the bottles on the shelves,
  88. with the labels perfectly
    aligned to the same side
  89. and he would get his chocolate cookies.
  90. Jose is not an expert in autism.
  91. There is no need to be an expert,
  92. nor doing anything heroic
    to include someone.
  93. We just have to be there --
  94. (Applause)
  95. That's it, no heroic deed --
  96. We simply have to be close.
  97. And if we are afraid of something
  98. or we don't understand, let's ask;
  99. let's be curious,
  100. but never indifferent.
  101. Let's dare to look each other in the eye
  102. because through our gaze,
  103. we can open a whole world to someone else.
  104. (Applause)
  105. (Cheers)
  106. (Applause)
  107. Thank you so much, thank you!
  108. (Applause)