John Smyth

The Cost of Silence: “I remember the sad time in Lifeskills, waiting for someone and really seeing that they would never come and find me, realizing I was trapped in a body that was a tomb, totally reaffirming and poisoning all sadness into despair. Relationships where people just stared or looked away reinforced the hopeless trap each day became. Questions about when became fairy tales of shame and prisons of thought.

“The autism showed up when I was little. It stopped me from communicating and being in relationship…. I wanted to talk to all I had in my life but the words would not come. Autistic actions masked my behavior and I am afraid. It is hopeless to get rid of the autism. The way free is dark.” – John Smyth, 2011, 2012

Read “An Amazing Autism Story,” about John’s journey to find the acceptance and high-quality education he was seeking. (PDF opens in new window)

Visit John’s website at (opens in new window)

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John Smyth, formerly of Carmel, now Brownsburg, Indiana:
  • Self-taught to read at 3; “diagnosed” with a 3 year old’s mind
  • Capacity to communicate discovered Dec 9, 2010, age 16.5
  • Life-skills to age 17 without any real communication with anyone- parents, doctors, educators, siblings
  • Tested out of middle school math in 6 weeks
  • Passed state assessments for English 10 and Algebra without needing to complete the coursework
  • Has his own website: (opens in new window)

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A message from John:

“I have been freed from the prison of autism to participate more fully after 16 years of loneliness.  Yet so many more remain in this prison…. (T)he blind and lame … no one currently regards them as incompetent, though they could not complete standardized tests without accomodation. How we have come to where we are is through ignorance, and education is the solution.”

If you know someone who is autistic and doesn’t communicate, chances are they are very intelligent and waiting for a chance to express themselves.

When you give someone an opportunity to communicate, you change their lives forever.

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A Case for Action

April 28, 2012

It is estimated that 110,000 people nationwide, including a number of severely autistic children and young adults like myself, are trapped in unresponsive bodies. Being trapped, we are unable to communicate without a trained expert to discover us. We can’t tell our parents that we love them, can’t explain what hurts when sick, can’t explain what medicines are doing, and can’t make basic choices in life that others take for granted. Without communication, we can’t explain why we behave in certain ways or what we are experiencing.

Our parents can’t know our voices, love, level of intelligence, or how to help us best. Our doctors have to guess about care because there is no way to understand from us what is working or any side effects. We can’t communicate with brothers or sisters. For me, it was like being buried alive for 16 1/2 years. The isolation was terrible. I know many more kids over the years whom I believe are still in the same circumstances that, only by grace, I escaped through Supported Typing, also called Facilitated Communication. …

Read the full article on (opens in new window)

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Great Teachers and Teaching

November 17, 2012

Really, what leads the student is the teacher’s belief in the student. The teacher provides the powerful listening that makes great thinking possible. Teachers who have no confidence to do this or in themselves steal the educational POTENTIAL OF THE STUDENT, WHETHER THEY ARE PARENTS, EDUCATORS IN A SCHOOL SYSTEM, OR SEMINAR LEADERS. THE MAJESTY OF GREATNESS IN a teacher is silently hidden in their awesome commitment and belief in the great potential of their students…

Read the full article on (opens in new window)

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Authentic John’s Free Offer

Poetry by John Smyth: A story So Good It Doesn't Need Complete Sentences

Click to Download “Poetry by John Smyth: A story So Good It Doesn’t Need Complete Sentences”

You have not really read poetry until you’ve read “Authentic” John Smyth’s book of poetry, both his own and some of the classics that have inspired him. Get comfortable and settle in for some really great poems that will reaffirm your love of poetry and change your thinking about autism.

Poetry Book by John Smyth (PDF opens in new window)

Poetry Book Cover and Table of Contents (PDF opens in new window)

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  1. […] cannot adequately express our appreciation to Answers for Autism, but our own John Smyth typed this note of thanks as our official response to this wonderful and generous […]