My Representative, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (above right) sponsored my meeting with more than a dozen Members of Congress and/or their key legislative staff on Capitol Hill, including Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott to discuss
My follow-up continues…
Autism has become so prevalent that most people know someone affected by it. Non-speakers often suffer the indignity of being misunderstood and mistreated, rather than being seen as intelligent people. In fact, the education system routinely labels non-speaking students as “intellectually disabled” individuals who are incapable of learning.
Only recently was it discovered that non-speakers with autism have complex sensory-motor challenges, not cognitive ones, that prevent them from communicating. With the proper training and support, non-speakers can achieve the basic human right of effective communication guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Through leveraging the power of film, music, and moving testimonials, C4A works to educate and inspire audiences to take action. Our movement building efforts include creating platforms for non-speakers with autism who type (typers) to share their stories and advocate for their non-speaking peers.
Through a growing network of local and national partners, we connect people to concrete actions they can take to contribute to positive change in practices, systems, and policies.
In Our Own Hands is a feature documentary about how patients are reinventing medicine. Through the passionate stories of three people who refuse to let their chronic medical conditions define their lives and futures, this groundbreaking documentary explores the new field of technology-enabled participatory medicine. Elizabeth Bonker is one of the people featured in this film.
On April 7, 2022, Elizabeth released the first two songs of a 10-song I Am in Here album. Elizabeth wrote the lyrics and The Bleeding Hearts, a Boston-based band wrote and performed the music. Included in the first two songs are the title track with this music video launching the #IAMINHERE revolution and “Silent Cage” featuring legendary guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The I Am in Here album is now released on all major streaming platforms and Bandcamp.
The Bleeding Hearts have a long history with Elizabeth going back to her birth. The lead singer, Laurie Ellington, was Elizabeth’s mother’s roommate in college and the rhythm guitarist Sean Coleman was her mother’s best friend in high school. The other members of the band have been friends for more than a decade and include lead guitarist Bill Danylik, drummer Jim Clements, and bass player Joe Sheil. The Bleeding Hearts have no website because they only play for good causes. We are blessed that they have worked with Elizabeth for almost the entire pandemic to create this album.
In 2011, C4A Founder Elizabeth Bonker co-authored I Am In Here. The book tells the story of a mother and daughter who refuse to give up hope, who celebrate their victories, and who keep trying to move forward despite the obstacles. Although she cannot speak, Elizabeth writes poetry that shines a light on the inner world of autism and the world around us. That poetry and her mother’s stirring storytelling combine in this inspirational book to proclaim that there is always a reason to take the next step forward—with hope.
At Communication 4 ALL, we seek nothing less than to ensure that all non-speaking students with autism have the freedom and support to use the communication of their choice in school. Your gift helps us build awareness, distribute much-needed resources, and spark action. Please consider a donation to C4A today.