Imagine having a heart and mind full of thoughts about life and the world around you with no way to express them. That is how 16-year-old Dillan Barmache, a teen with autism and the inability to speak, has lived his entire life, until now.
"Not being able to speak is not the same as not having something to say," Dillan's mother said when discussing her son. "Everyone has to have a voice."
Thanks to augmented and alternative communication applications on his iPad, Dillan found his voice and is making a profound difference spreading his message of autism awareness. Not only is he changing our views of autism, but he is also changing our views of life.
"I get to experience the world in a very unique way. I can see the wind, hear the flowers. I can feel incredible emotions flowing from those I love."
Dillon may not have had the ability to communicate, but his life experiences of the world are uniquely beautiful.
In a world where we live life in the fast lane, Dillon speaks to us and tells us what we are missing. Imagine how it would be to see the gentle breeze, hear the song of the flowers and feel love literally flowing from your family and friends.
In a speech he gave in school, Dillon said, "We are capable of so much if we just open our minds."
Imagine what life would look like if we opened our mind to see the world through Dillon's vantage point. Our eyes would see nearly impossible things and our communication would be so much richer for it.
Because of his difficulty communicating with people, Dillon learned to see more with his eyes, hear more with his ears and feel more with his heart. He learned to communicate with the wind and flowers and to connect with his family through the beauty of love flowing freely. That love was a real, tangible feeling he could hold on to.
Dillon's story teaches us there is so much more to life than what we see on the surface. There is beauty, depth and understanding.
"Without a voice, people would only see my autism and not the real me. People all need a voice not only so they'll be heard but fully understood and known."
Dillon is letting his voice be heard, and his words are beautifully inspiring many. Through his efforts, he is breaking down barriers and building bridges of understanding and friendship.
"All my life I wanted so badly to connect with people, but they couldn't understand because I had no way to communicate," Dillon said.
Technology has now given Dillon the voice he has always longed for, and the words of his soul help all of us see the world with his eyes, hear nature's song with his ears and feel deeply the love of those who surround us. Life is truly beautiful.