Teen with nonverbal autism to speak at CLU

On Nov. 23  at 2 p.m., 17-year-old Ido Kedar, author of “Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison” will speak about his nonverbal autism experiences in Swenson 101 at California Lutheran University.

He will be joined by Adrienne Johnson, an Inclusion Facilitator at the Los Angeles Unified School District, “I read Ido Kedar’s book, ‘Ido in Autismland’, recently.  It is one of the most powerful books I have read about autism,” said Edlyn Pena, who has a doctorate in higher education, in an email interview.

According to the organization Autism Speaks, one out of 88 American children are identified as being on the Autism spectrum. Autism spectrum disorder varies by degrees in difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

In his book, Kedar discusses the struggles he faced in trying to communicate with others. Kedar plans to speak using his communication app on his iPad.  He is an advocate for finding  new ways of communication for those with autism. Kedar’s  educational journey began in remedial classes, but once he was able to communicate his understanding and intellect to others, he was placed in general education classrooms.  He is now a junior at a magnet high school in West Hills.

“Technology has come such a long way and it opens our eyes to see that those with autism are functioning. It gives them a way to communicate,” said junior Jacob Soriano, a psychology major. ”It’s different, but it’s really cool.”

According to Autism Speaks, technology can help motivate those with autism to communicate with others. Autism Speaks  suggests that the computer’s high predictability is comforting to those with autism, unlike people who can often be unpredictable.

“If we’re able to use technology to help create special relationships between people with autism and their peers and families, that’s great. Those relationships are something everyone deserves,” said senior Michael Hooten, who had a peer with autism while he was in high school.

Pena wanted to bring Kedar to CLU to break stereotypes about the intelligence of people with autism. She hopes to create a discussion among staff and students about autism.

“Ido disrupts lots of stereotypes and misconceptions about lack of intelligence in the nonverbal, autism community,” Pena said. “Research and literature on autism suggests to college students who are learning about autism that individuals who are nonverbal are often ‘low-functioning’ and lacking intelligence.  Ido’s groundbreaking book shows us that verbal speech does not equate to a particular level of intelligence.”

“Ido challenges psychologists, educators and other professionals to find ways to support nonverbal children and adults to communicate, through a letter board or communication device, so that they can participate in general education in a meaningful way,” Pena said. “Everyone deserves a quality education.”


Berlin Galvan
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 20, 2013