Ben’s father holds his son during a class for screenwriting at Tulane University in New Orleans
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'I am here:' Silenced by autism, young American man finds his voiceThough he cannot speak, Benjamin Alexander has much to say, one typed word at a time.Ben was diagnosed with nonverbal autism and epilepsy a few months before his third birthday. Ben wants to help educate people about autism and challenge stereotypes.In the months that followed, however, Ben lost those first few words.Then, when Ben was about 2 1/2, came the diagnosis they feared: autism.Eventually, Ben saw Dr. Stanley Greenspan.One afternoon, dad asked 8-year-old Ben a question.Because Ben needed more physical support early on, some people didn't believe he was typing his own thoughts.By the time Ben was 9, he wrote an essay – "My Adventure in Life" – that won a state writing honor. It was compiled from his answers to his mom's questions about what his autism felt like. Gleason also told Ben that he could be an example for other people with autism.
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