The moving speech of a student with non-verbal autism that moved her graduation

A student with autism moved the users of the social media for its touching history. Despite not being able to speak since she was 15 months old, she was chosen to give her university graduation speech, in USA. The young woman did it through a text-to-speech program and was applauded by her classmates.

On May 8, 529 students from the private Rollins College, located in Winter Park, Florida, graduated and only one was chosen to give the speech. This is Elizabeth Bonker, a 22-year-old who suffers from non-verbal autism and uses typing to communicate.

In accordance with Elizabeth hasn’t spoken since she was 15 months old, due to autism, a disability caused by differences in the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To deliver the speech, the 22-year-old used a text-to-speech program and urged her classmates to “use their own voices.” “God gave them a voice. Use it. And no, the irony of a non-speaking autistic person encouraging you to use your voice is not lost on me. Because if you can see the value in me, then you can see the value in everyone you meet.”was heard in part of the emotional speech.

A great victory with his teammates

Bonker, who graduated with a degree in Social Innovation, recalled that she had to fight for many years to be accepted, but finally achieved a “small victory” alongside her peers.

Personally, I have struggled all my life not to be heard or accepted. A front page story in our local paper reported how my high school principal told a staff member, ‘The retard can’t be the best student.’” revealed.

Yet here I am today. Every day, I choose to celebrate small victories, and today I am celebrating a big victory with all of you.”he added.

At the end of the 6-minute speech, Elizabeth was applauded by her classmates and her story went viral on social media.

The recent graduate created a few years ago a nonprofit organization that works to “ensure people with nonverbal autism have access to communication and education essential to living meaningful lives,” according to its website.

How many people suffer from non-verbal autism in the world?

According to the page it is estimated that 40% of people with autism do not speak, that is, 31 million worldwide. “However, only a small fraction of those who do not speak have been taught to communicate”mention the website.

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