Autistic Teen Uses Tech to Break Silence: "I Escaped My Prison"

An author and honor roll student, Ido Kedar is mainstreamed into a regular high school, despite his autism

By Daisy Lin and Bruce Hensel
|  Thursday, Dec 26, 2013  |  Updated 10:31 AM PDT
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Ido Kedar, 16, has severe autism that makes him unable to speak. But he’s learned to express his emotions through writing, using a blog and writing a book to share unique insights into what’s it’s like to be autistic. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News. Read the full story <a href=here." />

Dr. Bruce Hensel

Ido Kedar, 16, has severe autism that makes him unable to speak. But he’s learned to express his emotions through writing, using a blog and writing a book to share unique insights into what’s it’s like to be autistic. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News. Read the full story here.

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A brilliant 16-year-old boy who has autism is breaking through his silence and making people realize what autistic kids can do.

Ido Kedar has difficulty controlling his body, and he cannot talk. At first glance, it’s easy to think that he is mentally inept.

Yet beneath that erratic exterior is an alert young man, intelligent beyond his years, who wants desperately to be understood, but is unable to speak his thoughts.

And no one knew that, not even his parents, Sharon and Tracy Kedar.

“He was totally locked in internally,” Tracy Kedar said.

Then, when Ido was 7 years old, his mother noticed signs that he could spell.

“We were working on birthday party invitations, and he couldn’t hold his own pencil, so I was holding my hand over his hand,” she said. “I started feeling the pencil moving under my hand.”

With years of training in the Rapid Prompting Method, Ido broke through his silence. Now he uses an iPad to communicate. Once he learned how, Ido started to say all the things he was forced to keep inside for so long.

“Life without communication is like you have no voice,” Ido said through his iPad, “I want people to understand that not speaking is not the same thing as not thinking.”

With his newfound voice, Ido is giving a unique insight into what it’s like to be autistic through his blog, and in his book, Ido in Autismland.

Here is an excerpt:

“Time after time people assume that I don’t understand simple words when they see me move wrong. Understanding is not the problem. It’s that my body finds its own route when my mind can’t find it.”

He shares his struggles to make himself understood.

“I talk in my mind, but my mind doesn’t talk to my mouth. It’s frustrating, even though I can communicate by pointing now. Before I could, it was like a solitary confinement. It was terrible having experts talk to each other about me, and to hear them be wrong in their observations and interpretations, but to not be capable of telling them.”

Adrienne Johnston, an LAUSD Inclusion Facilitator, has worked closely with Ido.

“He doesn’t look like he’s paying attention necessarily but everything that’s being said he’s hearing, he’s processing and he’s able to understand,” Johnston said.

Ido is mainstreamed into a regular high school, where he is on the honor roll. He is hoping that he can help other kids like him to break barriers.

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