I am Emma

This remarkable girl is 13 and has the ability to put in writing the words that she can’t make come out of her mouth. She explains her autism in ways we can all read with compassion and understand.

Emma's Hope Book

“What is your name?” someone might ask.  It’s a simple question, but when I try to make the sounds that form my name, other words push and shove their way forward.  Instead, “you may not spit,” or “Rosie’s not here!” are examples of seemingly random nonsensical, declarations that come out of my mouth.  I call these utterances my “mouth words.”  They could be seen as traitors, belligerent bullies who seek the spotlight, but they are not.  My mouth words are funny to me, but misunderstood by others. My typed words are hard for me, but understood by many.  Mouth words are witty accomplices to a mind that speaks a different language entirely.  There are no words, but instead a beautiful environment where feelings, sensations, colors and sounds coexist.  I often think if all humans could experience the world in hi-res, technicolor, surround sound as I do, everyone would be happier.  I…

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for sharing that. So fascinating!

    I’m really struck by her statement that inside her mind there are no words. That’s largely true of me also. In order to speak or write, I have to “translate” what is in my mind into language. I do this successfully all the time, but I have a pretty slow processing speed.

    I actually thought everyone was like this until recently, when one of my Facebook friends transcribed what went through her head when she woke up in the morning, and it was very verbal. I tried to do the same thing, and it was all scattered and intermixed images, sounds, and kinesthetic feelings. I asked her, “do you really use all those words when you think?” and she said yes, she did. Didn’t everyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. melhpine says:

      Einstein described something similar, which is taken as one sign that he may have been on the spectrum. But he saw it as enabling him to grasp concepts better. What happens when you meditate?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just tried to write a response to this question, and it got very long. I enjoyed writing it, though, so I’m going to save it for a blog post. There isn’t even really a short answer, except that often when I try to meditate, I fall asleep!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. melhpine says:

        I asked because it seems to me that Buddhist meditation is primarily about returning to a nonverbal, primal state. So I wonder what it’s like if you’re already there. I look forward to the blog post. My perverse sense of humor forces me to add that you have 47 minutes and 18 seconds to complete it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, I guess the thing is, you can still get distracted nonverbally. So even if your mind is in a nonverbal state, you have to give the elephant’s trunk a bamboo stick to hold onto (as the meditation book puts it).

        I usually do okay meditating with the Sutta Nipata Discourse on Goodwill, which is verbal: http://www.easwaran.org/sutta-nipata-discourse-on-good-will.html

        Or, I also have tried meditating on things like following the path of a visual perception from photon to visual cortex, or 3-octave violin scales. The mental images those create are mostly auditory/visual/kinesthetic/spatial and not verbal.

        Sometime I will blog in more detail about what it’s like to use 3-octave violin scales to meditate 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. melhpine says:

        I like that version of what I call the Metta Sutra, or Metta Prayer (Sanscrit as opposed to Pali). I saved it to Evernote. Thank you for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh, do you know how to edit comments here on your site? I am having trouble, so I just want to correct two things in my previous comment: 1. the mental images created by violin scales are also auditory, in addition to visual/kinesthetic/spatial. and 2. Sometime (not sometimes), meaning “in the future,” I will blog about this.


    1. melhpine says:

      How does it look now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The way I wanted it! Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

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