A few years ago, we wrote about a remarkable young man named Matthew Hayes who has been autistic since birth and started typing at a very young age, which surprised everyone because he was thought to be mentally retarded and could not think normally. Matt’s journey from silence to the discovery of his “voice” through the use of Facilitated Communication (FC) therapy was the subject of the 2011 documentary A Tale of Silence and Beyond. The film demonstrated how intelligent autistic people are and how they can think like everyone else, but their impaired communication and motor skills do not allow them to communicate as most people can.
More recently, Matt was the subject of another film by director/producer Emily Bernhard, the 2015 documentary My Voice: One Man’s Journey to Overcome the Silence of Autism. This film follows Matt’s growth as an author, poet, and advocate for the use of Facilitated Communication as he fights to help others, like him, who, due to an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other neurological condition, do not have the ability to communicate.
In the film, we meet Matt’s family and learn how, with their help, Matt uses FC to express his thoughts and ideas when he would otherwise be trapped in silence.
“If I wake up and see that I can teach someone to treat their silent family member or neighbor as an equally intelligent person, I have moved the needle of change.”
For more about Matt, visit Mighty Matt, the website of The Matthew Hayes Trust.
Watch the trailer: My Voice: One Man’s Journey to Overcome the Silence of Autism
In addition to Matt, My Voice also features other noted members of the FC community, including Independent Typer Jamie Burke; Marilyn Chadwick, Master Trainer and Board President of Wellspring Guild, a coalition of communicators, families and professionals, facilitators and trainers dedicated to Best Practice of Facilitated Communication Training (FCT.); and educators Christy Ashby, Director of the Institute on Communication and Inclusion (ICI) at Syracuse University and Douglas Biklin, Dean Emeritus of Syracuse University’s School of Education, founder of the ICI (formerly known as the Inclusion Institutes at Syracuse University), and co-producer of Academy Award nominated documentary Autism is a World.
PBS Airs My Voice, But Not in Central Indiana
During the month of April, many PBS stations across the country aired the documentary in support of National Autism Awareness Month. Unfortunately, neither of the Public Broadcasting stations that serve Central Indiana, WFYI (Indianapolis) or WTIU (Bloomington), deemed to air the film. We find this to be an egregious omission that displayed a lack of concern or sympathy for the area’s autistic community. We encourage everyone reading this to contact their local PBS station and request that they broadcast this enlightening film with the powerful message of hope and encouragement.
Let Your Voice Be Heard! Contact Your Local PBS Station
1630 North Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Radio & TV Center
1229 E 7th St
Bloomington, IN 47405