OAARSN Book Review

Out of Silence: A Journey Into Language by Russell Martin (1994).Reviewed by Loella J.M. Eby, University of Waterloo, in WWASnews 17, Spring 1995

For those interested in FC (Facilitated Communication) as a means of communicating with autistic people, a 1994 book called may be of value. It is, on one hand, the story of an autistic boy named Ian and his and his family's struggles with autism to the point, at nine years of age, when he begins to be able to communicate through FC. However, there is another dimension to the book and that is a study of language, especially the English language, and investigative speculation as to why Ian and some other autistic people, if they acquire any spoken language, speak very simply. We might call it baby talk since it does not gain the smoothness and flow of grammatical speech. Although Ian's spoken language is not grammatically smooth, his written language is and the author poses theories about that as well. One of Ian's interesting written statements was made as he "talked" one day about his interest in Indians. He typed "My Indfian name wwould be boyy who lives in tunnewl yert seess verty far." (p.258).