Letter of Wally to Dan of 2/19-6/28/2008
Introduction for Wally’s letter of 2/19-6/28/08 to Dan
In this letter Wally writes to his friend Dan. Dan and Wally are about the same age, 43 years, and both are nonverbal autistic. Dan, like Wally, uses facilitated communication (FC) to communicate. Both Dan and Wally started to use FC as a communication tool in 1992. Wally and Dan met at a conference at Syracuse University in 1995 and have been friends ever since that time. Dan lives about 2 hours from where Wally’s home is. Dan’s sisters, Mary and Jackie, bring Dan to visit Wally once or twice a month. Until a few years ago, Wally would visit Dan at his home but now, since the ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, has weakened Wally so much, he is not able to take a long trip so Dan comes to visit Wally. Between visits Dan and Wally exchange letters and are in contact via the internet.
MY THREE WORLDS (WALLY)
IN MY WORLD, MY BLACK WORLD OF AUTISM, THERE IS ONLY THE SAMENESS OF CONSTANT ORDER AND THE JUSTICE OF NATURE THAT I ACCEPT AND WITNESS. OUR WORLD, I NOTICED, IS CHAOTIC, NOISY, AND EXCEPTIONALLY VIOLENT. HOWEVER, I CAN NOW COPE TO A POINT WITH SOME LEVEL OF ALL OF THIS AS LONG AS I CAN RETREAT, FROM TIME TO TIME, TO MY WORLD OF ORDER AND NATURAL LAW AND ASK APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT I SEE AND HEAR. THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE FROM MY WORLD TO YOUR WORLD HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO WANT TO LIVE INOUR WORLD AND TO SATISFY MY NEED TO BE AMONG OTHER PEOPLE NO MATTER HOW DIFFERENT WE ARE FROM EACH OTHER.
Biography for WALLACE (Wally) WOJTOWICZ, Jr.
Wally was born 12/18/66 and is now (September 2005) 38 yrs. old. He lives in the Clifton Park area of upstate New York with his parents. Wally has lived at home all of his life. Wally has two sisters, one a year and a half year older than he and the other is two years younger than he is. Wally has a large extended family and many friends. Wally was diagnosed as autistic at age 2. He developed epilepsy at age 9 and has GM seizures. Wally has some slight involvement with CP, Tourette’s Syndrome, and OCD.
Autism: A matter of high sensitivity
Karin: “As a child I experienced life in various aspects as heavy. I felt dejected and unsafe in certain surroundings. The people, the noise and all the sensorial impressions came in strongly and caused chaos in my brain.”
Wally Wojtowicz, Jr.: “Now I look to other people because I need their help to live and for their companionship. I now can see our world, the reality that we both are sharing. In our world I am the happiest. In my world I was the loneliest. In your world I was the most frightened.”
Leslie Morrison, behavioral analyst: “It’s not a punishment to have a child with autism. In fact, it’s an absolute gift. I’ve learned so much about myself and learned to be as authentic as I can … from them. And when I feel love from these kids, that is the biggest gift that they can give.”
Finding Wally: A Remarkable Family That Refused To Give Up On Their Son
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Maria Fusco’s 8th grade honors class at Mechanicville Middle School as they prepared to do a writing project on tributes. The students were assigned to find five people they admire and who have influenced their lives and choose one of the five to write a tribute about. So I spoke to them of heroes. I told them that heroes don’t necessarily leap tall buildings in a single bound, or always catch the bad guys in a series of car crashes. I pointed out that heroes are the people next door or down the street. Heroes are everywhere.